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Social Security Disability Benefits and Sarcoidosis

April is National Sarcoidosis Month. What is sarcoidosis? It is the name of an autoimmune disorder that causes clumps of abnormal tissue, known as granulomas, to form on the body. Although some people are not seriously affected by the illness, others whose lungs and heart are affected may have significant symptoms. In rare cases, such people even need organ transplants. About a million people around the world may have the condition.

The cause of sarcoidosis is unknown, but many experts think that it may be triggered by a foreign substance that gets into the lungs, provoking an immune system over-reaction. In very seriously ill people, the lungs are the organ most commonly affected.

Other facts about the disease include:

  • African-Americans are more likely to be affected than white Americans
  • Seventy percent of patients are diagnosed between ages 20 and 40
  • The most common symptoms in patients with lung involvement is a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Common symptoms in patients with the condition in other organs include swollen lymph nodes, skin lesions, rashes, irritation of the eye, metabolic problems and excess calcium content in bodily fluids

Sarcoidsis and SSD

Although the Social Security Disability program does not have a specific listing for the condition sarcoidosis, people who cannot work and have been diagnosed with the disease may still be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, depending on the organs that are affected. In seriously ill people, sarcoidosis may cause:

  • Chronic pulmonary insufficiency, which can result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPS)
  • Bronchiectasis and lung infections. To be eligible for SSD benefits for this condition, a claimant must show decreased lung function
  • Certain skin disorders
  • Vision loss
  • Arrhythmias and chronic heart failure

These are conditions listed in the Social Security listing of impairments (the Blue Book) that could make you eligible for SSD. If you have sarcoidosis but do not meet the criteria established for the conditions above, you may still qualify for SSD benefits based on your residual functional capacity, or RFC. If the RFC assessment shows that you are unable to work for 12 months or more, you may be eligible.

If you have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis and cannot work as a result, you may face challenges in obtaining SSD benefits. If this happens, do what so many others have done: Call Binder & Binder® from anywhere in the country to speak with one of our people. As the most successful Social Security Disability advocates in the United States, we can advise you.

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