What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?


The most basic financial requirement under Social Security rules and regulations is the limit for Substantial Gainful Activity or “SGA.”

SGA applies to both the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Social Security Income program. SGA refers to the amount of income a person makes from work activity. By definition, a person who meets or exceeds the SGA limit is not disabled under Social Security rules. If you are medically unable to maintain work at least at the SGA level, then you may meet Social Security's definition of disability. For calendar year 2021 the SGA income limit is $ 1,310 in gross (pre tax) earnings per month. 

Only monies from actual work is counted toward the SGA income limit. Any earnings from sick leave, temporary disability, a legal settlement or any source other than work is not counted as SGA. It is legal to collect Social Security Disability and sick leave or any other type of disability payment concurrently.  

The Social Security Income (SSI) program has more stringent financial limitations than basic SGA. For additional SSI requirements please see the SSI section.

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