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Substantial gainful activity (SGA) is defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as any work that earns wages in excess of a certain amount each month. The amount changes annually. One of the most basic requirements to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is that your medical condition must prevent you from working for at least one year.
If the SSA determines that you are working at the SGA level, then you will be considered ineligible to apply for SSDI benefits. If you are already receiving disability benefits and begin working at or above the SGA level, your benefits may be terminated after a trial work period.
Gainful activities are ones that you get paid to do, according to the SSA. However, the SSA could decide that your work is gainful even if you were not paid. If the activity you were doing is something that people usually get paid to do, then the SSA may conclude that your work was gainful. For example, volunteer work and running a business can fall under the umbrella of substantial gainful activity, even if you aren’t making any money.
The SSA defines substantial work activity as significant mental or physical labor. Part-time work can still be considered substantial, even if you do or are paid less than you did before becoming disabled. Determining what may be considered substantial gainful activity by the SSA can be difficult, so it is advisable to ask a local attorney about what may be counted as SGA in your situation.
There are examples of what the SSA doesn’t normally consider substantial gainful activity, such as taking care of yourself, household chores, physical therapy, attending school, and social activities. Although these activities are not considered SGA for the purposes of SSDI eligibility, the SSA may still consider these activities as evidence of whether or not you are truly disabled. It is important to be careful of what activities you partake in to avoid putting your disability benefits at risk.
The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be arduous and difficult. Consulting with a Social Security attorney can help you navigate the process and give you the best chances of success, so call our firm today.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law