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Our Monthly Law Lesson – June

You Have Questions. We Have Answers.

Client Question of the Month:

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

There are many conditions used to determine whether or not a disabled individual is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but there are two primary requirements.

1. You have to pass the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) physical tests to measure the severity of your disability.
2. Your disability prohibits you from engaging in any other kind of “substantial gainful activity.”

According to the SSA, anyone who earns more than a specific monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is considered to be engaging in the substantial gainful activity and therefore does not qualify for benefits. Similarly, part-time work, jobs with lesser responsibilities, or those that pay you less than your regular job also fit under the definition of substantial gainful activity.

As of 2019, the monthly cap on earnings for this work stipulation is $1,220. The amount for statutorily blind individuals is $2,040. When determining your eligibility for disability benefits, Social Security considers your gross pay. You will be disallowed from excluding state and tax withholdings, FICA taxes, insurance premiums, union dues, pension payments, or other standard payroll deductions. This is because they are paid with the income you have earned. The figure that remains after the entire allowable expenses are deducted from your earnings is referred to as “countable income.” This income determines if you participate in substantial gainful employment or not. It also determines your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

Here at Jorgensen Law, we’ve noted that the measure of substantial gainful activity varies every year, as it normally increases with respect to the cost of living. While this growth accurately reflects the expenses associated with living in the U.S. each year, it can make the application process far more convoluted. That is why you need an advisable attorney who can help you with this process. Give our office a call so we can help you determine your eligibility and get you the benefits you need and deserve.

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