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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity

603. 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:

  1. Work performed for pay or profit;

  2. Work of a nature generally performed for pay or profit; or

  3. 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?"

No. For work activity to be substantial, it does not need to be performed on a full-time basis. Work activity performed on a part-time basis may also be substantial gainful activity. (See §§618-621.)

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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Comments

Blind Individual and substantial gainful employment

March 9, 2011 by Guest

Is $ 1,570/month in section 603.3 still the same since 2008?

Blind Individual and substantial gainful employment

March 9, 2011 by David Luhman

This has been updated to $1640 a month for 2010.


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