Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration

Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

603. Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity

603.1 What does "substantial gainful activity" mean?

The term "substantial gainful activity" is used to describe a level of work activity and earnings.

Work is "substantial" if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both.

"Gainful" work activity is either of the following:

  1. Work performed for pay or profit;

  2. Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or

  3. Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

603.2 Does work need to be performed on a full-time basis to be considered "substantial gainful activity?"

No. For work activity to be substantial, it does not need to be performed on a full-time basis. Work activity performed on a part-time basis may also be substantial gainful activity. (See §§618-621.)

603.3 Is there a different definition of "substantial gainful activity" for blind people?

Yes. A special definition of "substantial gainful activity" applies to individuals disabled by blindness. These individuals are considered to be performing substantial gainful activity if their earnings are higher than $1640 a month for 2010. (see §617.2)

NOTE: If you are statutorily blind you do not need to show the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity to establish a period of disability (see §617).

Last Revised: Nov. 16, 2010

Ads

Recent Content

One-Page Overview of Social Security Disability

Here's a good overview of Social Security disability which answers the following questions :

Who does the SSA consider disabled?

What is the SSA’s definition of disability?

What evidence does the SSA require to prove my medical condition?

What if my medical condition is not in the Blue Book?

Does the SSA have any other requirements for disability benefits?

What if I am able to earn a small income?

If I am unable to work, am I guaranteed disability benefits?

Explanation of Windfall Elimination Provision and Social Security Benefits

This is a very good article which explains, in common language, the reason for the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). WEP may be called "double dipping" in common terms.

The article also gives an overview of how Social Security provides a better "rate of return" to low income workers.

Excerpts :

But in a nutshell, I can tell you that Maria’s $1,150 benefit represents about 90 percent of her average lifetime monthly wage. Whereas Frank’s $2,400 Social Security check is probably about 40 percent of his average monthly pre-retirement income.

Tips on Filing for Social Security Benefits

This is a good article with several tips on when and how to apply for Social Security benefits.

When to file :

* For a retirement or Medicare claim, file three months before you want your benefits to begin.

* For disability, file as soon as possible.

You can largely file online, with the notable exception of a survivor claim for a widow, widower or surviving child. Call Social Security to schedule an appointment.

Ads

Ads

Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration