Social Security Disability Hurdle 1: Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

One of the 5 hurdles you must meet to be paid Social Security Disability is what is called the Substantial Gainful Actvity (SGA) test.

If you can’t meet this hurdle, the evaluative process stops and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will find that you are not disabled.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity? If you are working and earning $900.00 gross per month, SSA will find that you are not disabled… no matter how impaired you are.

The work must be both substantial and gainful. Substantial work activity involves work that requires “signficant physical or mental activities” 20 C.F.R. 404.1572(a). If you can’t do ordinary or simple tasks without more supervision or assistance usually given to other people doing the same type of work or the work involves minimal duties that make little or no demand, the work won’t be considered substantial.

Gainful work is determined by looking at your earnings. If you make more than $900.00 gross per month you will not meet the earnings test.

The work is evaluated without regard to legality so that even illegal activity, such as selling stolen goods, may be substantial gainful activity.

SSA looks very closely at SGA when the person applying for disability is self-employed as they want to make sure the work the self-employed person is doing is not substantial and gainful.

When SSA raises the SGA hurdle, we always contact your employer to determine the true facts behind your employment.

If you would like more information or if you have any questions give us a call at 727-894-3188 or contact us at

If you would like more information about your rights regarding Social Security Disability Benefits, you can order our FREE book,"Your Rights to Social Security Disability Benefits" by submitting the form in the sidebar. We will send it out immediately along with other important information.

For more information about Social Security Disability Benefits, visit our law firm web site at If you would like to speak with one of our Social Security Disability Benefits attorneys about your case, feel free to call us anytime at (727) 897-9117 or simply submit our contact form and we will get back to you quickly.

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