Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
What does Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) mean?
SSDI and SSI applicants who can perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) do not qualify for disability benefits. If an applicant is making too much money or working too many hours they will be denied benefits. To understand SGA it's important to understand what work is substantial and what work is gainful.
For instance, work is considered gainful if the claimant is earning $1,040 (gross earnings per month) for non-blind disabled applicants, and $1,740 for blind applicants (gross earnings per month). If a claimant makes less money, however, it does not necessarily mean they are disabled.
The SSA will also evaluate the amount of hours a claimant is currently able to work and decide if it is substantial work. For instance, if a claimant is able to volunteer or perform other activities for too many hours the SSA can decide they are not disabled, even if the activities do not generate pay or profit. The SSA assumes that if a claimant has the capacity to perform work for too many hours they also have the capacity to work a regular job and they are not disabled.