Substantial Gainful Activity

Substantial Gainful Activity | Social Security SGA

Substantial Gainful Activity is simply the term used by Social Security to determine a certain level of work activity and income. "Substantial" would be defined as significant physical or mental activities (or both), which may include full-time or part-time work. "Gainful" refers to work that is paid or earns a profit, or normally would, or even may be intended to earn a profit (even if it currently does not).

The income limit for 2009 is $980 per month for non-blind individuals. This amount increases by $40 each year to compensate for inflation and other factors.

If you earn more than $980 a month, generally you would be considered to be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity. If your earnings are close to SGA and you are unsure if you should apply, a legal representative can look at your claim and help you make a decision.

If you are working and waiting for a decision on your claim, remember that Social Security will try to show that you can engage in SGA. If your income exceeds the limit, or even if you work enough hours that you could reasonably hold a full-time job, it will hurt your claim. Certain income limits apply for SSI even after you have been approved and are receiving benefits. If you exceed SGA or your current income limits, your benefits may be revoked or withheld, or you may even be required to pay them back.

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