Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease which can affect how your organs function. Shortness of breath, pain in the joints and fatigue are known symptoms. If they persist and you are not fit enough to go to work, you may qualify for disability benefits which are administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The Initial Application for Disability Benefits for Sarcoidosis
There are two ways that a person with sarcoidosis can submit an application for disability benefits. The first is using work credits that have accrued over time when paying Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The second is applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is means tested and paid out of general taxation. If you don’t have the required work credits you may still qualify for SSI payments. In both situations, medical requirements must be met before you qualify for any of the two disability benefits.
Before you can file an application for SSD benefits, sarcoidosis must be listed in the Blue Book requirements, but there as is no SSA Blue Book listing for sarcoidosis. You will have to look at other sections, such as Section 100, which considers mobility limitations or section 4.00, which considers heart damage, both of which could occur as a result of sarcoidosis. Your claim will need to be supported by your medical records including treatment for sarcoidosis and the disease must have been present and restricting your ability to work for at least 12 months.
It is the SSA that makes a decision about your SSD benefit’s application. It can take 120 days or more before you are informed of a decision and typically just 30% of applications are approved. Most denials are a result of lack of proof showing your disability caused by sarcoidosis. You can ask for a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment to be completed by your physician which could help to support your SSD claim.
If you are denied benefits, you can appeal or file a request for reconsideration.
Request for Reconsideration for Disability Caused by Sarcoidosis
When you receive your denial letter from the SSA you will be told how much time you are allowed to file a request for reconsideration. At this stage there is still a distinct possibility that your claim could be denied so you may have to submit a request for a hearing to be heard before an administrative law judge (ALJ). This stage offers you a greater chance of gaining approval for disability benefits as the judge will seek confirmation of the disability caused by sarcoidosis and your inability to go to work. You are typically given sixty days to request a hearing from your reconsideration stage denial. The ALJ may take several years to reach a final decision but at the end of the day about 63% of cases which reach this stage are typically approved.
If all has failed so far there is still the Appeals Council to consider. You are given 60 days after the ALJ decision to seek a review at the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council typically simply determines if the ALJ has made a mistake in the decision. If you don’t want to accept the Appeals Council decision your last chance is the Federal District Court where many claims are won.
Help With the Disability Application Process for Your Sarcoidosis
Working with a disability lawyer often has a great impact on the outcome of your claim for disability benefits and there is proof that your claim has a far higher chance of being approved.