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What is Substantial Gainful Activity?


The Social Security Administration defines “substantial gainful activity” or SGA as the performance of significant physical and/or mental activities in work for pay or profit, or in work of a type generally performed for pay or profit, regardless of the legality of the work. Within the context of this definition, each of the following words or phrases has a specific meaning:

  • “Significant activities” are useful in the accomplishment of a job or the operation of a business, and have economic value.
  • Work may be considered “substantial” even if it is performed on a part-time basis, or even if the individual does less, is paid less, or has less responsibility than in previous work.
  • Work activity is “gainful” if it is the kind of work usually done for pay, whether in cash or in kind, or for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.

For more information:

http://www.vcu-ntc.org/resources/WIPA_OtherResources/Understanding%20SGA%20Questions%20_%20Answers%202016.pdf