Substantial Gainful Activity

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is the performance of significant and productive physical or mental work for pay or profit.


The SGA level is an average of countable earnings over a certain amount per month for non-blind beneficiaries.  For persons receiving Social Security Disability benefits based on blindness, the SGA level is different.  You can find out the current SGA amounts by visiting Social Security’s website at, or by clicking here.


Income from sick or annual leave will not result in a finding of SGA, as no significant or productive activity is being performed for this pay.  The Social Security Administration needs to know the date an employee stopped working, even if the employee is still being paid because he or she is using leave.


The Social Security Administration deducts from gross earnings any impairment related expenses before they decide if work is SGA.  Impairment related expenses are the cost of items a person needs in order to work, and the value of support a person needs on the job due to the impairment.


If you would like more information regarding Substantial Gainful Activity, you can contact The Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, or visit them online at


Phone code: 1808

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