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What is substantial gainful activity for SSD purposes?


As mentioned previously on this blog, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to receive Social Security disability benefits. The medical requirements have been mentioned in previous posts on this blog. Today’s post will focus on the requirement of “substantial gainful activity,” and how it applies to Social Security disability benefits.

Texas residents may be aware that to receive SSD benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity. But what does this term actually mean? It means that if someone is earning more than a certain amount — the amount varies from year to year based on the national wage index and is different for statutorily blind and non-blind individuals — then they automatically cannot receive SSD benefits. But does engaging in part-time work mean one is no longer eligible?

Having a low income does not mean one is automatically ineligible. The Social Security Administration may consider the circumstances under which one is performing work and how much the person is earning. If it remains below the substantial gainful activity limit, one may still be eligible. However, if someone is performing volunteer activities for which one would ordinarily be paid, they may no longer be able to receive SSD benefits.

One may automatically be denied receiving benefits if the Social Security Administration finds that their disability does not prevent them from becoming gainfully employed. Therefore, having the right paperwork in order to prove one’s case and income is the first step in the right direction. An attorney may be able to provide further guidance as one navigates the Social Security disability system.