West Virginia residents who have rheumatoid arthritis and who want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits should understand how work activity factors into the decision of whether they are able to receive them. Applicants cannot be employed and earning an income that exceeds the SGA monthly earnings limit. Because the SGA limit is adjusted every year, it is important that applicants know what the limit is before they submit an application. People who earn an income that exceeds the SGA limit will receive a technical denial for their claim without it ever undergoing a medical evaluation.
People with rheumatoid arthritis who earn under the SGA limit should apply for Social Security Disability benefits. When reviewing disability claims, the disability examiners will consult the blue book, or the disability guidebook, which details the impairment listings for all of the systems of the human body. The listings define the criteria that have to be met in order for the severity of an applicant's condition to be determined.
Under impairment listing 14.09, applicants who are applying for disability benefits because they suffer from rheumatoid arthritis must have received a diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis, which includes rheumatoid arthritis. They will also have to submit blood test and clinical results as verification. To meet the requirements of the listing, applicants would have to exhibit certain symptoms. This may include a deformity in at least one of the peripheral weight bearing joints that severely hinder their ability to move.
An attorney who handles Social Security Disability cases may assist clients with navigating the application process. The attorney may explain the procedures and what steps to take if a claim has been denied. Assistance may be provided with obtaining the documentation necessary to verify a disabling medical or physical condition that prevents clients from being able to work.