The acronym “SGA” often appears when discussing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, but some may not know what it means and what it entails. SGA stands for “substantial gainful activity” or work activity that the Social Security Administration (SSA) factors into determining eligibility for benefits. SGA is significant and has the power to affect your monthly payments and your benefits overall. 

Substantial Gainful Activity


So what are the specifics of SGA, and why do they matter? Disability Associates is here to provide all of the information you need. 


Substantial Gainful Activity 


Substantial gainful activity or SGA is work that brings in over a certain gross (pre-tax) dollar amount per month. In 2021, that amount is $1310 for non-blind disabled SSDI or SSI applicants, and $2,190 for blind SSDI applicants (the SGA limit doesn’t apply to blind SSI applicants).  The SGA amount changes every year so it is important to stay abreast of those changes.  If you are making more than the allowable amount per month, SSA assumes that you are not disabled because they believe you are able to engage in competitive work.  


Have You Already Been Approved for SSI or SSDI?


If a person has already been approved to receive disability benefits but wants to return to work, then there are a few options to consider.  SSA provides a great publication which is available online or in print that explains the important details to consider when working while disabled.  The link to this publication is  While SSA allows you to work and continue to receive disability benefits, the disabled individual is required by SSA to report all work activity to them via phone, mail or at their local SSA office.  You may also report work activity online through your account. The SSA publication will also describe the difference between SSI and SSDI recipients in navigating how working while disabled affects each type of benefit.


If you still have questions about substantial gainful activity and need assistance, or if you have any questions about legal representation, please contact Disability Associates today. You can contact us on our website here or give us a call at 410.686.2227.