What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is work that earns a claimant over a certain amount of money.
When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is one of the factors that will be used to determine your eligibility for disability benefits. Basically, if you are earning income from employment that exceeds a certain amount, then you may not qualify for disability benefits.
In 2009, the amount of monthly earnings needed to be considered as SGA is $980 for non-blind people and $1,640 for statutorily blind individuals. For example, if you are not blind and you are making over $980 per month, then you are considered to be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity. This amount changes every year.
According to the Social Security Administration, if you are able to engage in SGA, then you are not eligible for disability benefits.
If you are currently receiving disability benefits and you want to continue to receive those benefits, your income from employment cannot exceed the amount that would classify you as engaging in SGA.
If you are collecting disability benefits and you want to try and return to work, the Social Security Administration has a “trial work period” program. While doing a trial work period, you are allowed to work and earn money that exceeds the SGA amount and still collect benefits.