Mary Anne suffers from Sjogren’s Syndrome. The 50-year-old woman is now receiving Social Security Disability benefits, after receiving a fully favorable decision from the Social Security Administration. That decision came after a hearing before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), at which Mary Anne was represented by Attorney Neil H. Good. Mary Anne had been rejected in her first attempt to obtain benefits, but had sought representation and Mr. Good had filed a request for reconsideration.
The marketing vice president has one year of college. She had worked at the same firm for more than 20 years, before having to quit because of her medical condition.
The judge ruled that Mary Anne suffers from Sjogren’s Syndrome and undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disease. Mary Anne’s impairments meet two listings, the judge ruled, and had for several years. “I find the claimant’s medically determinable impairments could reasonably be expected to produce the alleged symptoms, and that the claimant’s statements concerning the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of these symptoms are generally credible,” the judge wrote.
In his pre-hearing memo, Attorney Good pointed out Mary Anne has recurrent infections, rashes and sores including cellulitis and candidiasis. She has blood disorders, with thrombocytopenia, macrocytosis, hereditary hemochromatosis. She has systemic vasculitis, Type II cryoglobulinemia. She is a Hepatitis C carrier and also suffers from Type I Diabetes Mellitus with blurred vision, polyuria, and neuropathy. She has degenerative joint disease of her lumbar spine, herniated cervical disks, and cervical and lumbar radiculopathy, plus suffers from depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. She also has multiple connective tissues disorders.
The Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation says Sjögren’s is a chronic autoimmune disease in which people’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Today, as many as four million Americans are living with this disease.
Although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.
With upwards of 4,000,000 Americans suffering from Sjögren’s, it is one of the most prevalent autoimmune disorders. Nine out of 10 patients are women.