Substantial Gainful Activity - SGA

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Definition of 'Substantial Gainful Activity - SGA'


The threshold prescribed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for determining eligibility for Social Security benefits. Substantial gainful activity (SGA) is a specified dollar amount. It is updated each year to reflect inflation, and it represents the minimum level of employability which will render a person productive and, therefore, ineligible for Social Security benefits. The SSA employs higher threshold levels of SGA for persons with specific disabilities, such as blindness.

Investopedia Says

Investopedia explains 'Substantial Gainful Activity - SGA'


For the year 2006, the SSA has set the SGA amount for individuals at $860 per month. This means that any individual who is able to engage in employment earning more than $860 per month will be ineligible for benefits. For blind persons, a higher SGA amount of $1,450 was set for 2006.

Once the SSA approves disability benefits for a given citizen, it allows that person to continue to receive benefits for a brief period even if he or she is successfully able to re-enter the workforce and earn more than the SGA amount each month. This is intended to provide an incentive for disabled people to seek gainful employment and re-enter the workforce in a different capacity for the long term.

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