How Substantial Gainful Activity Could Impact Disability Benefits

Posted on behalf of Phillips Disability, P.C. on Dec 30, 2015 in SSD

substantial gainful activityIn order to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you must suffer from a condition that is so debilitating that you are unable to work.

The Social Security Administrations (SSA) first step in determining if you are disabled is to evaluate your ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). Simply put, the Administration will determine if you are currently working.

What Qualifies as SGA?

The SSA will determine if the work you are doing or are able to do exceeds a specific amount of income each month. The 2015 figures are $1,090 for disabled applicants and $1,820 for blind applicants. Investments, gifts and interest are not included in this calculation of income.

If you make an excess of these figures, you are thought to be performing SGA and it will be assumed that you are not disabled.

Just because your earnings are low does not prove you are disabled and cannot work. Even volunteer work may be considered SGA if you contribute substantial amounts of time for which someone would ordinarily be paid.

Similarly, high income does not always imply that you were performing SGA if you were working under certain circumstances. For example, if you require frequent breaks, work irregular hours, can only get work if you have a ride there and back, or are granted work because an employer is worried about you, then you could argue your work is not substantial gainful activity.

Claims are usually denied immediately if a persons income exceeds the SGA limit, unless the claimant was working under a special circumstance such as described above.

If you need help applying for SSD benefits, contact the law offices of Phillips Disability right away to speak to an experienced disability benefits attorney in Phoenix today.

Call 1-800-503-2000 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form.

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