Substantial Gainful Activity: A Social Security Disability Explanation

July 25, 2018

With a thriving Ohio Social Security disability practice, the attorneys of Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA help countless injured Ohioans collect the benefits they need to get by.  Let’s face it: dealing with any government agency or bureaucracy can be tough.  Having an experienced lawyer by your side to explain the process and help you along the way can improve your chances of getting the assistance you deserve.

Two frequent questions that arise when it comes to Social Security disability are what is substantial gainful activity and why is it important?  Understanding the Social Security Administration’s definition of substantial gainful activity can help you understand how the SSA determines who is eligible to receive benefits.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

To be eligible for Social Security disability, you of course have to have a disability.  Apart from having an injury or illness that meets the criteria for disability, though, you also must be unable to perform a certain amount of work.  This certain amount of work is referred to as substantial gainful activity.

The SSA determines whether work is substantial gainful activity based on the amount of income earned per month.  The amount is set by regulations and can change each year.  For 2018, for example, the amount for blind individuals is $1,970 and the amount for non-blind individuals is $1,180.  If an individual earns these amounts respectively, then he or she is generally considered to be able to perform substantial gainful activity.

Why Is It Important?

Substantial gainful activity is important to the Social Security disability application process because it can be determinate of whether an individual is eligible for assistance.  Depending on your particular situation, the gainful activity limits may seem insufficient to meet your needs.  Nevertheless, these limits can prevent you from receiving benefits.

How Can a Lawyer Help You?

There are several ways a Social Security disability benefits lawyer can help you when it comes to substantial gainful activity related questions.  Most individuals do not know the regulations relating to calculation of income and exceptions to the general rules that can take an applicant from ineligible to eligible.

For example, the income earned in for substantial gainful activity determination is income earned net of impairment-related work expenses.  An attorney can help document and prove these expenses to demonstrate that applicable income falls below the regulatory threshold.

Similarly, claimants with earnings over the threshold may be found not to be doing substantial gainful activity if they can show that they were working under special conditions.  Some of the special conditions include:

  • Allowances for Irregular Hours and Breaks
  • Specialized Assistance from Other Employees
  • Allowances for Lower Productivity Standards
  • Allowances due to Prior Relationships with Employer

Knowing these and other special conditions which may allow for disability eligibility is essential when gainful employment issues arise.  Only an experienced attorney can provide you with the necessary insight and knowledge to protect your rights and claims.

Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA – An Ohio Social Security Disability Law Firm

If you are considering filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits or if your claim was recently denied, we are here to help.  Call or email us now for a free initial consultation and find out how we can help you.

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