Sarcoidosis and Social Security Disability Benefits

Today’s post is a guest post from Molly Clarke about social security disability as it relates to Sarcoidosis. Thanks Molly for the great information

Sarcoidosis and Social Security Disability Benefits

By Molly Clarke

Sarcoidosis is a chronic disease that is characterized by inflammation of different organs. Most commonly, sarcoidosis affects the lungs, lymph nodes, eyes, liver, skin, heart or brain. Although many individuals with sarcoidosis experience very few symptoms and are able function regularly, some individuals who have the condition are left severely disabled. In extreme cases, individuals with sarcoidosis must receive constant medical attention or even surgery.

If you or a loved one has sarcoidosis and can no longer work or earn a living, it may be extremely difficult to maintain financial stability. If you are facing these circumstances it may be in your best interest to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD). Disability benefits, while often difficult to obtain, are a necessary lifeline for many individuals with severe sarcoidosis.

Disability

To qualify for any type of financial assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you need to be considered disabled. According to the SSA, a person is disabled if they meet the following criteria:

• He or she has a physical and/or mental condition that makes it impossible to maintain employment.

• He or she has a physical and/or mental condition that makes it impossible to learn or adjust to a type of work in which they have not been trained.

• He or she has a physical and/or mental condition that has lasted—or is expected to last—at least one year or result in death.

It is important to note that not everyone who has sarcoidosis will be considered disabled according to the SSA. If you do not meet these criteria, you will not be eligible for any type of disability benefit.

Medical Requirements

If you meet the SSA’s definition of disability, you will then have to meet specific medical requirements. Typically, medical requirements are listed in an official publication referred to as the “blue book”. However, sarcoidosis is not listed among the other disabling conditions. Fortunately, this does not mean that you won’t qualify for disability benefits. Instead, you will have to qualify under the body system that is most affected by your condition. Depending on the extent of your sarcoidosis and where it occurs, you may qualify under one of the following listings:

Section 2.00 Special Senses and Speech- This listing may apply to those who have sarcoidosis of the eyes and have suffered vision impairment.

Section 3.02 Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency- This listing may apply to those who have sarcoidosis of the lungs.

Section 4.00 Cardiovascular System- The listings under this section may apply to those who have sarcoidosis of the heart.

Section 8.02 Ichthyosis- This listing may apply to individuals who have sarcoidosis of the skin.

To qualify under any of these listings you will need to provide extensive medical evidence to support your claim.

Technical Requirements

The Social Security Administration offers two different types of disability benefits—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In addition to meeting the aforementioned medical requirements, you will also have to meet the SSDI or SSI technical eligibility requirements. These requirements are as follows:

SSDI- Social Security Disability Insurance is a type of insurance program that offers benefits to disabled workers and their families. Eligibility for SSDI is dependent on an applicant’s employment history and the amount of Social Security taxes that he or she has paid throughout their career. For an in-depth description of SSDI benefits, visit the following page: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi.

SSI- Supplemental Security Income is a type of welfare benefit offered to disabled, blind, or elderly individuals who earn very little income. Eligibility for SSI is dependent on a person’s income and financial resources. SSI is often a good fit for disabled individuals who have not had extensive work experience. For an in-depth description of SSI benefits, visit the following page: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssi/qualify-for-ssi.

In some circumstances, individuals who qualify for SSDI—but have very small monthly payments—may qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you feel that you are a good candidate for one or both of the disability benefit programs, you can apply on the SSA’s website or in person at your local Social Security field office. Once you have completed the necessary paperwork and submitted your medical records, it may be months before you receive a decision.

Although it is possible to be approved during the initial application process, you should be fully prepared to face the possibility of a denial. If you are denied you are allowed to appeal the SSA’s decision. While it can be overwhelming to appeal a denied disability claim, many more applicants are approved during the appeals phase than during the initial application. If you meet all the requirements for disability benefits and remain persistent in your efforts, you will be awarded the benefits you need.

For more information visit Social Security Disability Help or contact Molly Clarke at mac@ssd-help.org.

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