Social Security has slight increase in Substantial Gainful Activity in 2018

Each year, the Social Security Administration publishes the monetary amount that is considered for Disability and Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) and 20148 will see a slight increase.

SSD Benefits
Mooney & Associates representing social security clients through Pennsylvania and Maryland

First, what is SGA?  With reference to financial eligibility for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, an applicant for benefits must be unable to perform SGA.   An applicant who earns more than a certain monthly amount is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA, and therefore, not eligible for SSDI benefits.  The SGA amount published includes two figures, one for regular disabilities and one for blindness disabilities, which is slightly higher.  Additionally, If you are receiving SSDI benefits and your earnings are below what the SGA, then your benefits will neither stop nor be reduced because of earnings.   So yes, you can work part-time while receiving SSDI.  In essence, SGA is important for both eligibility and maintaining SSDI benefits.

Here are the rates for 2018:

For Non-Blind:  $1,080 per month (represents an increase of $10, as the 2017 rate was $1,070/mo)

Blind:  $1,970 per month (represents an increase of $20/mo as the rate was $1,950/mo)

It is important to understand in the application process that you have to be under SGA.  If you are over the SGA amounts in monthly income, then SSA will not even have to make a determination on whether you are disabled or not, because you would not be financially eligible for benefits.  So before even determining whether your disabilities meet Social Security’s definition of  disability, you have to meet two financial requirements.

1.  You must be below SGA,a s stated above.

2.  You must be insured for SSDI purposes.  Insured status means you’ve paid taxes into the system for the required number of years and your insurance hasn’t expired because you stopped working too long ago.   That’s it in a brief nutshell.

Applying for and winning social security disability benefits is not easy.  That is precisely why you should call an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to help guide you through the application and to ultimately represent you in an appeal hearing, should your application be denied.  At Mooney & Associates, we submit applications on behalf of applicants and represent clients who are denied at the application level.  We represent disabled clients throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland.  Call us today for a FREE consultation or FREE application submission at 717-200-HELP or 1-877-632-4656.  You can also visit our website at

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.