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Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Definition

What Is Substantial Gainful Exercise (SGA)?

Substantial gainful exercise (SGA) represents the month-to-month threshold wage utilized by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to qualify people for incapacity advantages. The SSA updates the greenback quantity yearly to replicate inflation (or rising costs) and customarily maintains a better threshold for statutorily blind people.

Key Takeaways

  • The substantial gainful exercise (SGA) is the extent of wage that may be earned that enables a person to qualify for Social Safety incapacity advantages.
  • If a person makes lower than the SGA threshold, they qualify for incapacity advantages.
  • The 2022 SGA quantity for non-blind people is $1,350 monthly and $2,260 monthly for blind people.
  • There are two varieties of Social Safety advantages—Social Safety Incapacity Insurance coverage (SSDI) and Complement Safety Earnings (SSI).
  • SSDI pays people who’ve paid into the Social Safety program through payroll deductions, whereas SSI pays people who meet monetary necessities whether or not they have been employed or not.

Understanding Substantial Gainful Exercise (SGA)

Substantial gainful exercise represents the quantity of month-to-month earnings beneath which a person turns into eligible for incapacity advantages beneath Social Security. The SSA makes use of the SGA quantity as a key determinant in whether or not it considers an individual disabled for the needs of its packages.

People unable to have interaction in actions that earn them greater than the month-to-month SGA threshold qualify for incapacity funds. The SSA doesn’t think about these able to partaking in actions that earn greater than the edge disabled for the needs of its packages.

The brink quantities used to calculate the SGA quantity differ for blind and non-blind people. Those that meet the SSA’s statutory definition of blindness have a better SGA threshold than those that don’t, which suggests blind people can typically earn extra monthly than non-blind people earlier than they turn into ineligible for incapacity advantages.

Month-to-month Earnings Restrict

The SSA set the 2022 SGA quantity for non-blind people at $1,350 monthly. Which means any particular person in a position to have interaction in employment that earns $1,350 or extra monthly won’t meet the eligibility standards to obtain incapacity advantages in 2021. The SSA set the SGA threshold for blind people at $2,260 in 2022.

Price-of-Residing Adjustment (COLA)

Beneficiaries of Social Safety and Supplemental Safety Earnings (SSI) will obtain a 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022. The COLA provides to month-to-month advantages to regulate for rising costs—known as inflation. Though your particular month-to-month cost will rely in your scenario, on common, a disabled employee that acquired paid $1,282 monthly earlier than the COLA will receives a commission $1,358 month-to-month in 2022 after the COLA.


The SSA offers incapacity funds to people via two packages. Social Safety Incapacity Insurance coverage (SSDI) covers people who’ve paid into the Social Safety program through payroll deductions.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays advantages to disabled people who meet a selected set of monetary eligibility necessities, whether or not beforehand employed or not. For non-blind people, the SSA makes use of the SGA threshold to find out eligibility for advantages from both program.

For statutorily blind people, nevertheless, the SSA solely makes use of the SGA to find out eligibility for funds beneath the SSDI program. For blind people who obtain incapacity funds beneath the SSI program, the SSA doesn’t use SGA thresholds in its preliminary dedication of eligibility.

As soon as the SSA approves incapacity advantages for a person, it permits that particular person to proceed to obtain advantages for a quick interval after that particular person turns into in a position to re-enter the workforce and earn greater than the SGA quantity every month. This offers an incentive for disabled individuals to hunt gainful employment and re-enter the workforce in a special capability for the long run, if attainable.

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