When you apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, the first thing the Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at is if you are currently working or not.

Most people believe that you can’t work at all if you want to receive SSD benefits, but that isn’t true. While working full time will guarantee a denial of benefits, if you work part-time (as a long as you aren’t making a certain amount of money), you may still be eligible for benefits.  The reason for this is that a part of the SSA’s definition of disability requires that applicants must not be able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).

What exactly is SGA?

In general, SGA is work that provides more than a certain amount of income each month. Today, this income amount cannot exceed $1,090 per month for non-blind claimants and $1,820 for blind claimants. In most cases, if you make more than this every month, the SSA won’t consider you disabled. Keep in mind that the SGA is based purely on work income, so if you get cash gifts or you make money on investments or interest, it won’t affect the determination of whether you are engaging in SGA or not.

However, just because your earnings are lower than the minimums we mentioned above does not mean that aren’t engaging in SGA. The kind of duties you perform at work also play a part. For example, if your work duties are considered to be strenuous or if performing them clearly demonstrates that you aren’t disabled, then you are engaging in SGA.  Keep in mind that the SSA does not consider attending school or participating in hobbies as engaging in SGA.

As  you can see, SGA can be a complicated issue. That is why, in our next few blogs, our Social Security attorney in Louisville will be going over the basics of SGA. Stay tuned to learn more!