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What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?

The term “Substantial Gainful Activity” refers to work activity that provides a certain monthly income beyond a limit. Remember, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will deny a claim if it has reason to believe you are earning more than a predetermined SGA limit.

What is the SGA limit?

The limit depends on a number of factors. The most important factor is the type of disability. Some conditions may allow a person to receive disability benefits even if they are earning a higher income than another person who is denied. For instance, persons who suffer from blindness may have a much higher SGA limit while still retaining their eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.

In 2016, according to SSA, the monthly SGA limit for blind individuals is $1,820. For other disabled individuals, the monthly limit is $1,130.

The agency will also monitor your SGA level if you are attempting to return to work after receiving disability benefits. SSA encourages persons on disability to return to work in order to increase their earning ability. However, after the initial trial period, you may become ineligible for benefits if your monthly income exceeds the SGA limit.

These are complicated issues, and it’s important to get guidance from a legal professional who understands the system and how to maximize your opportunity for benefits. If you are unsure about whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, talk to a Social Security benefits attorney in Atlanta, and understand your rights.