Substantial gainful activity

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Substantial gainful activity is a term used in the United States by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Being incapable of substantial gainful employment is one of the criteria for eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. It is known as the "SGA requirement," and is defined in Section 520 of the Social Security Act.

To be eligible for SSI, an applicant must meet the following three conditions: they must have little or no income or resources, be considered medically disabled, and either not be working or working but earning less than the substantial gainful activity level. To be eligible for SSDI, an applicant must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for enough years to be covered under Social Security, as well as being medically disabled and either not be working or working but earning less than the substantial gainful activity level.[1]

Substantial gainful activity is defined by the Internal Revenue Service as "the performance of significant duties over a reasonable period of time while working for pay or profit, or in work generally done for pay or profit."[2]

Inability to engage in substantial gainful activity means that if a person works, they earn less than a certain amount of money. For non-blind people, the amount set by the SSA for 2009-10 was $980 per month.[3] If a claimant were to earn more than the set amount, they would no longer be considered disabled by the SSA, regardless of their medical condition, and their benefits would cease after two further disability checks.[4]

Monthly substantial gainful activity amounts by disability type:[5]
Year Blind Non-Blind Year Blind Non-Blind Year Blind Non-Blind
1975 $200 $200 1990 $780 $500 2005 $1,380 $830
1976 $230 $230 1991 $810 $500 2006 $1,450 $860
1977 $240 $240 1992 $850 $500 2007 $1,500 $900
1978 $334 $260 1993 $880 $500 2008 $1,570 $940
1979 $375 $280 1994 $930 $500 2009 $1,640 $980
1980 $417 $300 1995 $940 $500 2010 $1,640 $1,000
1981 $459 $300 1996 $960 $500 2011 $1,640 $1,000
1982 $500 $300 1997 $1,000 $500 2012 $1,690 $1,010
1983 $550 $300 1998 $1,050 $500 2013 $1,740 $1,040
1984 $580 $300 1999 $1,110 $700 2014 $1,800 $1,070
1985 $610 $300 2000 $1,170 $700
1986 $650 $300 2001 $1,240 $740
1987 $680 $300 2002 $1,300 $780
1987 $680 $300 2002 $1,300 $780
1988 $700 $300 2003 $1,330 $800
1989 $740 $300 2004 $1,350 $810


SGA does not include any work a claimant does to take care of themselves, their families or home. It does not include unpaid work on hobbies, volunteer work, institutional therapy or training, attending school, clubs, social programs or similar activities:[6] however, such unpaid work may provide evidence that a claimant is capable of substantial gainful activity.[7] Earnings derived from criminal activity do count in assessing whether someone is engaged in substantial gainful activity.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Glennen, [edited by] Sharon L.; contributions, Denise C. DeCoste; with (1997). The handbook of augmentative and alternative communication ([Nachdr.] ed.). San Diego: Singular Pub. Group. p. 350. ISBN 1565936841. 
  2. ^ Service, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue (2008). Your federal income tax for individuals: for use in preparing 2008 returns (2008 ed. ed.). Washington D.C.: Internal Revenue Service. p. 225. ISBN 0160811953. 
  3. ^ Morton, David A. (2010). Nolo's guide to social security disability: getting & keeping your benefits (5th ed. ed.). Berkeley, CA: Nolo. pp. 20–21. ISBN 1413311040. 
  4. ^ Tomkiel, Stanley A. (2007). The social security benefits handbook (5th ed. ed.). Naperville, Ill: Sphinx Pub. pp. 130–131. ISBN 1572485779. 
  5. ^ SSA. "Substantial Gainful Activity". Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  6. ^ Service, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue (2008). Your federal income tax for individuals : for use in preparing 2008 returns (2008 ed. ed.). Washington D.C.: Internal Revenue Service. p. 225. ISBN 0160811953. 
  7. ^ Income tax regulations: including proposed regulations as of November 13, 2007. (Winter 2008 ed. ed.). Chicago, IL: CCH. 2007. p. 2511. ISBN 0808018086. 
  8. ^ Sacks, Avram (2004). 2004 Social Security explained. Chicago, IL: CCH Inc. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0808010719.