Sarcoidosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that is identified by a buildup of immune system cells on one or many body organs. A Hand Over a Social Security Benefits Form With Glasses and a CalculatorThis cell buildup results in abnormal lumps or bumps called granulomas—small nodules that look like grains of sand or sugar. When these granulomas cluster or clump together on an organ, they can negatively affect or change how the organ functions.

If you suffer from sarcoidosis and want to file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you won’t find a listing specific to sarcoidosis to help determine if the disease has caused your disability. Instead, you will be evaluated using the listing for whatever body organ has been affected. These organs include the lungs, eyes, and skin.

When the SSA Uses Residual Functional Capacity to Determine Your Disability

If you’ve been diagnosed with sarcoidosis but don’t meet the criteria under the listed body parts such as lungs, heart, eyes, and skin, the SSA will assess your disease using your residual functional capacity (RFC). This assessment will determine the kind of work you’re able to perform considering the limitations of your impairment and the treatments you’re undergoing due to your medical condition. For sarcoidosis, here are some examples of what the RFC assessment might be like for certain body parts:

  • Lungs. If sarcoidosis has affected your lungs, your RFC might limit working in environments that expose you to fumes, dust, or temperatures that make it hard to breathe.
  • Skin. If sarcoidosis has affected your skin, your RFC assessment might limit work environments that could impact the skin—such as working outdoors or in areas that might irritate skin lesions.
  • Eyes. If your sarcoidosis has attacked your eyes, you may have limitations on work that requires driving or operating dangerous machinery.

If your RFC assessment shows you are capable of performing work, the SSA may deny your disability claim. However, if the SSA determines that your symptoms severely limit your abilities and there’s no job you’re capable of performing, you may be awarded benefits under a "medical-vocational allowance."

If you suffer from debilitating sarcoidosis and are unable to work, contact us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation. We can help determine if you’re eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.


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