Legalese Defined: Social Security Disability– Substantial Gainful Activity
To be eligible for disability benefits a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. In Social Security Disability cases substantial gainful activity means that you are working and earning more than a certain amount of money, which is set by law and changes each year. If the Social Security Administration finds that you are able to engage in substantial gainful activity then your application will be denied.
If you are working full-time it is highly likely the Social Security Administration will find that you are engaged in substantial gainful activity, which means your application would likely be denied. If you are working part time and earning less than the amount set by law then you may still be eligible (The monthly substantial gainful activity amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2020 is $2,110. For non-blind individuals, the monthly substantial gainful activity amount for 2020 is $1,260.). Please note, however, the fact that you are working and earning less than the monthly allowable amount does not necessarily mean that you aren’t engaged in a substantial gainful activity. If the reason you are earning less money is not because of your inability to work but rather something special about that job (such as limited hours), then you may still be engaged in substantial gainful activity and not eligible for benefits.
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