What’s Substantial Gainful Activity And Will It Affect My Disability Claim?

Some people think that if you are on Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI), then you can’t work at all, but there’s more to it than that. The Social Security Administration (SSA) actually wants SSDI claimants to start working again, but it can be tricky.

Your Disability Claim and Substantial Gainful Activity

A substantial gainful activity (SGA) is any work that allows you to earn a certain amount of income every month. To qualify for SSDI, you can’t have work that qualifies as an SGA. So how much income counts as substantially gainful?

As of 2016, if you earn more than $1,130 per month, then you are participating in an SGA. This limit is a bit higher if you’re blind—$1,820—but that is the upward limit of how much you can earn and still claim SSDI. However, there are still a few details you need to consider.

The Exceptions to the Rule

  • Offsetting Your Earnings– If you do make more than the SAG threshold, not all hope is lost. The SSA will deduct your disability-related expenses from your income. So, if your disability requires you to use a transportation service that costs you $900 a month, and you make $2,000 a month, then you would still earn below the SGA threshold.
  • Trial Work Period– The SSA wants to encourage people with disabilities to rejoin the workforce. So, it offers a trial period that allows disability claimants to work for more than the SGA threshold for up to nine months. The SSA even offers an extended period of to help protect claimants that can’t earn more than the SGA threshold consistently.

If your SSDI benefits aren’t enough to live on, then there are even more measures to help claimants make ends meet. Learn about them by sticking with our Tulsa disability attorneys right here on thisblog. You can also find more answers to your SSDI questions on our Twitter and Facebook pages.


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