Substantial Gainful Activity and Social Security Benefits

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Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is an essential factor that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to assess and approve disability benefits applications. The agency also uses the SGA to determine if a beneficiary deserves to continue receiving financial support or if it should stop.

That’s why you should know about SGA to optimize your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application.

This article will help you understand the basics of SGA. However, consulting a Social Security benefits attorney in Glendale will help you learn more about this essential factor.

What Is Substantial Gainful Activity

Substantial Gainful Activity is duties that demand significant and productive effort from you. It also allows you to earn income more than the limit set by the SSA. The 2022 SGA monthly income limit is $1,310 for non-blind people and $2,190 for blind people.

In other words, SGA may prove that you are exerting significant effort or earning enough income beyond the limits of being disabled.

For example, the SSA may question your disability benefits claim if you work eight hours a day and earn $5,000 a month.

Another example is when you continue to run a business involving heavy loads. In that case, the SSA may doubt your disability benefits application for tennis elbow or tendonitis.

Effects of SGA on SSDI Beneficiaries

The SSA awards disability benefits to people with significant work limitations who cannot earn enough income. However, the agency also encourages people with disabilities to start handling regular full-time work.

The thing is that you cannot work and earn more than the limits of SGA, or you will lose your disability benefits. You need to follow these steps from the SSA to help with your transition.

1. Trial Work Period

The SSA establishes the trial work period to help SSDI beneficiaries transition into regular full-time jobs. The goal is to ensure that you are ready to maintain the average income and won’t require disability benefits anymore.

You can earn more than the SGA income limit and exert significant work effort during this phase. And you may also opt to spread the nine months over 60 months.

The SSA will evaluate your average income as the trial period ends.

You will then proceed to the extended period of disability if you earn higher than the SGA limit. However, the disability benefits will continue if your average income is lower than the SGA maximum.

2. Extended Disability Period

This period lasts for 36 months and revolves around providing disability benefits only when necessary. It means you will only receive disability benefits if you earn less than the SGA limit in particular months. The thing is that you will start receiving disability benefits again once your income drops below the limit.

For example, you will not receive financial support if you gain $2,500 in February 2022. However, disability benefits will return in March 2022 or subsequent months if your income drops to $1,500.

3. Terminating Disability Benefits

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Your disability benefits will automatically stop if you earn more than the SGA limit after the extended disability period. It means you won’t receive the benefits anymore even if you only earn more than the SGA for one month.

The thing is that it’s possible to reinstate your SSDI if your disability recurs. The SSA can even speed up your application process if you file for reinstatement within five years after your SSDI termination.

However, you have to go through the regular SSDI application process after five years expire.

Consult a Glendale Social Security Benefits Lawyer to Learn More about SGA

Substantial gainful activity is a complicated subject. However, it’s crucial to understand its concept to know how it affects SSDI and for you to maximize disability benefits.

Hiring a Social Security benefits attorney in Glendale helps clarify vital points about SGA.

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