To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA depends on the nature of a person's disability. The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals; Federal regulations specify a lower SGA amount for non-blind individuals. Both SGA amounts generally change with changes in the national average wage index.
Amounts for 2013
The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2013 is $1740. For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2013 is $1040. SGA for the blind does not apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, while SGA for the non-blind disabled applies to Social Security and SSI benefits. See historical series of SGA amounts below.
Trial work period
After a person becomes eligible for disability benefits, the person may attempt to return to the work force. As an incentive, we provide a trial work period in which a beneficiary may have earnings and still collect benefits.