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What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is a term used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to describe a level of work activity and earnings. The Social Security Administration considers work "substantial" if it involves significant mental or physical activities. Substantial work does not have to be done on a full-time basis. It is possible to work part-time and be engaged in "substantial" activity. The Social Security Administration considers work "gainful" if it is done for pay or profit, or if it is work which is generally done for pay or profit. Work can be considered gainful even if a profit is not realized. The Social Security Administration will not award Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to disability claimants who are performing substantial gainful activity. The amount of earnings considered SGA varies based on a claimant's disability. In 2012, blind individuals can earn up to $1,690 per month and non-blind individuals may earn up to $1,010 month.

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