What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) to Social Security?
An important aspect of both the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD) programs is how much work an applicant is able to do. The Social Security Administration measures a person's work capacity by the amount theyare able to earn each month, which is called "substantial gainful activity" (SGA). There is a limit to the amount of substantial gainful activity that a person can do within a month and still qualify for benefits.
What is the SGA Limit for 2017?Each year, the Social Security Administration raises the SGA limit to keep up with the cost of living and national average wage. In 2017, the SGA limit is $1,170 per month. This means that if a person has an illness, injury, or condition that keeps them from earning at least $1,170, then they can apply for disability benefits. The limit for blind individuals is higher; it is $1,950 for the same year.
The SGA limit applies to full-time or part-time work. In order to prove that your wages are suffering as a result of an injury or condition, the Social Security Administration will request information about your work history and tax returns. If you're worried that your income is on the verge of disqualifying you from disability benefits, discuss your case with an experienced disability attorney.
What is SSD Trial Work Period?
Beneficiaries might find the income requirement discouraging to getting back to work. People receiving SSI or SSD are invited to participate in trial work programs while they recover from their disabling injury or condition. In order to encourage beneficiaries to get back to work when they can, the Social Security Administration continues to pay benefits to the person while they are earning a wage. These benefits are reduced, however. If a person exceeds the SGA amount during their trial work, then their benefits will end.
If you live on limited income because of an injury, illness, or condition that keeps your from working, you have options. Apply for disability benefits as soon as you qualify in order to extend your wait time.