I have sarcoidosis. Am I eligible for VA disability benefits?

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in the body, but mostly the lungs.

Some people who suffer from sarcoidosis don’t have any symptoms and the condition improves over time without problems. Others may have serious symptoms, are unable to work, or need medication. In rare cases, some patients may need an organ transplant. If you’re a veteran or on active duty and suffering symptoms of sarcoidosis, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the VA.

It’s common for people who’ve been diagnosed with lung sarcoidosis not to have symptoms and this disease usually does not cause a sudden illness. However, others may experience symptoms, including wheezing, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. Many people with sarcoidosis think they have the flu or a respiratory infection before they're diagnosed. The disease is often discovered when a chest X-ray is done for another reason and it is found to be abnormal.

There are typically two phases of lung sarcoidosis—the active phase and the non-active phase.

In the active phase small areas of inflammation of your tissues--called granulomas—begin to form and cluster in your lungs. During the active phase, symptoms may appear, and it’s possible for scar tissue to form on the organs that are affected by these granulomas.

During the non-active phase, inflammation decreases, and the granulomas stop growing. They will often stay the same size or decrease in size. It’s possible, however, that symptoms can still develop during this phase and the scarring may remain.

To determine if you have lung sarcoidosis, your doctor may perform a variety of tests, including a chest x-ray, blood tests, or an MRI scan—among others.

If you’re a veteran with sarcoidosis of the lungs, you may be eligible for VA disability by proving a presumptive service connection. This means the VA presumes your disability was caused by your military service. Sarcoidosis is listed under chronic diseases that might be established during or aggravated by military service.

If your symptoms seriously impact your ability to perform your job or live a normal life, contact us at Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your situation.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska