What to Know About SGA & Social Security

If you can no longer work at your job because of an illness, you may qualify for Social Security benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is based on your past earnings history and if you qualify you could get a monthly benefit amount. Since you cannot work and earn money, the monthly payments are of great value, but you should know that in all likelihood they won't be enough to totally replace your salary from your previous job.

You may be able to earn some additional income, so read on to find out more about how much income you can earn and still get SSDI benefits.

You may encounter the term "substantial gainful activity" (SGA) in your SSDI paperwork. This term refers to the work you did in your previous job to earn money. If you want to continue to earn SSDI benefits, you cannot earn over a certain amount or do a certain type of job, since that would be called SGA.

It only makes sense; if you can earn that certain amount of money and/or do the same type of work, you don't need SSDI benefits. As of right now, you can earn up to $1,170 ($1,950 if you are legally blind) and still potentially qualify for benefits. The income amount, however, is only part of the issue.

As mentioned above, the type of work you are doing to earn that income matters to the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you are able to do similar work to the work that you claimed to be unable to accomplish due to your illness, you cannot also receive SSDI benefits. Even if your earnings are lower than the limit shown above, if the nature of your job is the same, you may lose benefits.

Consider the following scenario: You are unable to drive a forklift due to nerve damage in your legs and you qualify for SSDI benefits. Once you are earning benefits, you get a part time job driving a forklift. Your pay is less than the limit, but you are doing the same work that qualified you for benefits. You are now in danger of losing your benefits. However, if you can find a job as a bank teller, where you can perch on a stool for your job, you will not be disqualified for benefits as long as you stay below the income limit shown above.

If you have more questions about getting SSDI benefits, contact a Social Security lawyers as soon as possible.