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How to Qualify for Disability Benefits with Sarcoidosis
By the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help

Sarcoidosis is a rare disorder present in around 4 of every 10,000 Americans. While little is know about the cause of the disease, its symptoms can have drastic effects on the body’s lungs and other organs, making it increasingly difficult to function from day to day.

If your sarcoidosis leaves you unable to work reliably or accomplish daily tasks, then Social Security disability benefits may be right for you. Both Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) were created to help disabled Americans in need, and your case could be the next to qualify for monthly financial benefits.

Technical Qualifications

The first step of applying for disability benefits is learning about the different programs available.
Depending on your work history and income, there are two potential disability programs that applicants can qualify for: SSDI or SSI. Applicants typically qualify for just one of these programs, but it is also possible to qualify for both.

Social Security disability insurance is for workers whose disability prevents them from continuing their work. In order to qualify, applicants must have contributed enough money to Social Security in their working years. These contributions, called “credits”, can be earned up to four times per year. The older a person is the more credits are required of them to qualify. For example, a 31-year-old would require 20 credits (5 full year of work) in order to qualify, while a 52-year-old would require 30 credits (7.5 years of work). If approved, applicants receive monthly benefits as well as Medicare coverage.

Supplemental Security Income is for applicants that either a) have no history of working, b) have very low income, or c) are under 18. This is because SSI does not require credits in order to qualify. Instead, it requires applicants to make under a certain amount of money each month to qualify as financially in-need. Single applicants are required to make under $735/month, while couples are required to make under $1,103/month. However, because all income earned from working is halved when counted toward this total (and some forms of income aren’t counted at all) it is common for SSI recipients to technically make more than this amount per month. If approved, applicants receive monthly benefits as well as Medicaid coverage.

Medical Qualifications

For both SSDI and SSI, it is necessary to meet certain medical requirements for eligibility.
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews applications, their goal is to classify an applicant as “totally and permanently disabled” to deem them eligible for benefits. This criteria is met when an applicant’s disorder is a) severe enough to hinder them on a regular basis, and b) expected to last more than 12 months or result in death.

The best way to get an idea of your eligibility is by consulting the “Blue Book”. This book (which is available in entirety online) lists all SSA-approved disabilities, as well as the symptoms necessary to qualify. While sarcoidosis does not have a specific listing, you can qualify for benefits due to its symptoms.

For example, if your sarcoidosis results in long-term problems with lung function, you may qualify under section 3.02: “Chronic respiratory disorders”. Qualification under this category is determined by the applicant’s scores on a variety of lung tests in regard to their particular age, sex, and height. A low-enough score on just one of the following tests (or a certain combination of each) is enough to qualify you medically for disability benefits:

  • FEV test (measures the forced expiratory volume of the lungs)

  • FVC test (measures forced vital capacity)

  • DLCO test (measures the diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide)

  • ABG test (measures arterial blood gas)

  • SpO2 test (measures the percentage of oxygen saturation in the blood)

Beyond lung function, you may be able to qualify for other symptoms, such as

Because the requirements are typically unique to each patient, the best way to gauge your qualification is to consult a physician who can complete these tests for you. However, any additional medical documents you can provide (medication lists, hospitalization history, therapy session notes, physician testimonies) are also helpful when demonstrating the severity of your sarcoidosis.

Starting the Application

SSDI applications are available at any time on the SSA’s main website. You can also find available a variety of FAQs, helpful tips, and income/credit calculators to assist you throughout the process. If you need help at any point with the application, you can always call your local Social Security office for questions or to schedule an in-person application appointment.

SSI applications are currently unavailable online. However, the Online Application for Disability Benefits can help you to start the process and forward important information to your in-person application. An application appointment can then be made by contacting your local Social Security office.

This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.disability-benefits-help.org or by contacting them at help@ssd-help.org.



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