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How does substantial gainful activity impact disability benefits?

If you are eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, it means that you are unable to work because of a disabling condition or unable to earn enough to meet your basic needs. It can be difficult to secure these benefits, and the SSA holds a strict definition of disability. One thing they will look at is your ability to earn an income.

Substantial gainful activity is one of the factors that could determine whether you are eligible for disability benefits. This is the income you bring in each month, and if your condition affects your ability to earn over a certain amount, this validates your claim for disability benefits. Before you apply, you may want to speak with an attorney about what this means and how your individual financial situation could impact your claim. 

Defining SGA

Substantial gainful activity is an important part of any disability claim. Even if you are able to earn some income, as long as you do not meet the monthly threshold, the SSA may still consider you disabled and eligible for financial support. Consider the following facts about SGA and your claim:

  • The substantial gainful activity threshold may be different for applicants who are blind versus those who are not blind.
  • For the year 2020, the SSA set the threshold SGA limit for non-blind individuals at $1,260 per month.
  • For the year 2020, the SSA set the threshold SGA limit for blind individuals at $2,110 per month.

Another factor to consider is whether you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. These two programs through the SSA offer support for those who cannot work, but eligibility requirements are different for each. One important factor for applicants is whether they have a work history that included paying specific types of payroll taxes.

Your claim for benefits

It can be a difficult process to secure disability benefits, even with a valid disabling condition and obvious financial need. This is why it is beneficial to work with an experienced attorney at every step, even before you file a claim. This can help you avoid unnecessary setbacks and allow you to pursue the financial benefits you need.

If you think you could be eligible, you may find it beneficial to start with an assessment of your case. Speaking with a New York lawyer knowledgeable in these matters can help you understand more about substantial gainful activity and your disability claim.

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