What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?

What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?

When you are injured and no longer able to work to financially support yourself, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If you have worked enough qualifying quarters during your working history, you have likely been paying into Social Security. Because you paid into the system, you can receive disability benefits. It is important to note that Social Security disability is intended for people who are not able to financially support themselves because of their disability or a serious medical condition that has made them unable to work. Someone who is physically able to perform substantial gainful activity is not considered disabled by the Social Security Administration.

What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?

Substantial gainful activity is a term used by the Social Security Administration to refer to activity that can be considered gainful work. It involves significant and productive activity and also usually involves payment of an income. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, a disabled person must only make a limited amount of income per month. If the disabled person makes more than the set limit of monthly income for disability eligibility from some form of substantial gainful activity, the disabled person can be rendered ineligible for disability benefits.

Substantial gainful activity can include a number of things, including part-time employment, self-employment, side and odd jobs, and a profitable hobby. You should know that substantial gainful activity can also include volunteer work and criminal activity, even if you do not make any money from these activities. If the activity is of a type that you could be paid for, it will likely be considered substantial gainful activity. The current level of monthly income that can be earned by a disabled person without losing disability status is $1,170. If the disabled person is blind, the monthly income limit is $1,950. If you make more than this set limit per month, your Social Security disability benefits can be terminated.

When the Social Security Administration evaluates a disabled person’s income generating activity to see if it rises to the level of substantial gainful activity, they look specifically at how much was earned (or could have been earned if you were paid for the work you did) in any given month. They do not take an average of your earnings across the whole year. Things that will be counted as income include money paid for work, earnings made by self-employment, payment in kind and the value of bartered goods or services.

What If You Are Trying To Return To Work?

There are many instances where someone who has been collecting Social Security disability benefits realizes that their condition has improved and they want to attempt to return to work.  You may opt for a return to work program where you will still be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits while you are on a trial work period. The trial work period is intended to gauge if your disability has improved to the point that you can return to work and are capable of earning more than the set limit of $1,170 for your substantial gainful activity.

Contact A Social Security Disability Benefits Lawyer

If you need assistance determining if you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, or if your benefits have been wrongly terminated because of your alleged substantial gainful activity, you should speak to an experienced South Carolina disability lawyer. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC for assistance with your case today.

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