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Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity
603.1 What does "substantial gainful activity" mean?
The term "substantial gainful activity" is used to describe a level of work activity and earnings.
Work is "substantial" if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both.
"Gainful" work activity is either of the following:
Work performed for pay or profit;
Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or
Work intended for profit, whether or not a profit is realized.
603.2 Does work need to be performed on a full-time basis to be considered "substantial gainful activity?"
603.3 Is there a different definition of "substantial gainful activity" for blind people?
Yes. A special definition of "substantial gainful activity" applies to individuals disabled by blindness. These individuals are considered to be performing substantial gainful activity if their earnings are higher than $1640 a month for 2010. (see §617.2)
NOTE: If you are statutorily blind you do not need to show the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity to establish a period of disability (see §617).
Last Revised: Nov. 16, 2010
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