If you’ve been affected by a severe injury or illness, such as a spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis, in New York, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Knowing how the SSA defines substantial gainful activity (SGA) and disability is crucial if you’d like to receive benefits.
If you become injured or have a serious illness, it may affect your ability to work and create an income that goes beyond meeting your basic needs. An example of this would be if you were a loan officer working for a bank and suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident. After experiencing this injury, you’ll need to meet specific requirements to be considered disabled by the SSA.
The SSA has specific criteria associated with SGA. They define gainful activity as being physical or mental work that’s productive, resulting in pay or profit. They also provide a specific earnings level per month, indicating SGA is being completed. In 2022, this earnings level is $1,350 monthly. If exceeded, it suggests that a person can perform SGA and would likely not qualify for disability benefits. In the case of an individual suffering a spinal cord injury and becoming paralyzed, they may be able to use voice recognition to complete work at home. If the work they produce provides a salary higher than $1,350 monthly, they would not qualify for disability benefits.
The SSA defines disability as being unable to engage in SGA. The physical or mental impairment causing the inability to engage in SGA must be medically determinable. In addition, this condition must last or be expected to last for a continuous period equaling at least 12 months. This condition may also be expected to result in death.
Understanding how the SSA defines disability is vital when you’re applying for disability benefits. You’ll need to provide evidence and prove that impaired functioning stops you from making a dependable living.