What Is SGA?

If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits you have probably heard the acronym SGA. Do you know what SGA stands for? Applying for disability benefits is a complex process. There is a lot of medical information that needs to be collected, paperwork to be filled out, and a lot of jargon to understand. As your NC Social Security Disability Lawyer, we are here to help you every step of the way. In today’s blog post we are going to go into detail about what “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) is and why it is important to understand.

Why Is It Important To Understand The Definition Of SGA

One of the basic requirements to receive Social Security disability benefits is that your medical condition must be serious enough to prevent you from doing more than an insignificant amount of work for at least 12 months. The Social Security Administration uses the “substantial gainful activity” (SGA) level to determine what work is too much. If the SSA determines you are working at the SGA level, you are ineligible for benefits.

The Social Security Administration Definition of SGA

The term “substantial gainful activity” is used by the Social Security Administration to describe a level of work activity and earnings. Work is “substantial” if it involves doing significant mental or physical activities or a combination of both. If you earn more than a certain amount and are doing productive work, the SSA will consider that you are engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), therefore you would not qualify for disability benefits.

Examples of substantial gainful activity are volunteer work, criminal activity, and running a small business. Even if you are not making money or are working part-time it can be considered SGA.

What Is Not Considered SGA

Below are some examples of what the SSA does not consider as substantial gainful activity:

  • Household chores
  • Going to school
  • Things you do to take care of yourself
  • Involvement in school activities
  • Physical, occupational, or mental therapy

Your NC Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help you

Are you not sure if you are working at the SGA level? Do you need help determining if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits in North Carolina? Contact Chad Brown Law today for a free case evaluation!

Share this story


Chad Brown

I was born and raised in Yadkin County and lived in North Carolina most of my life. Most of my spare time is spent with my wife Renee and our 4 children. Benjamin Franklin once quipped there must be a God when he met a lawyer that was also an honest man. While I no mean claim to be a saint, I do claim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and believe that as a Christian, I am called to serve with the gifts and abilities given to me by God.

More about me.

Follow Me