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I usually stick to practical advice, here at the Social Security Disability Lawyer blog. However, I read an interesting post, published recently by Charles Hall, Esq. on his blog Social Security News, stating that the issue of substantial gainful activity (SGA) has become just too complicated. Mr. Hall says:

Basically, if one is engaging in SGA, one cannot be considered disabled, but SGA is a term of art. Work may not be SGA if low earnings, unsuccessful work attempts, made work, subsidized employment, impairment related work expenses, trial work periods, etc. are taken into consideration. And don’t get me started on self-employment as SGA or the effect of blindness on SGA.

There has been a consensus for some years that the whole concept of SGA needs a fresh look. One of the more common themes is that SGA should be a ramp instead of a cliff. …

One suggestion: The biggest problem now is that SGA is just too complicated. Claimants have no idea how it works. Even many Social Security employees who should understand how SGA works, don’t.

SGA is certainly a cliff. If you are over the monthly SGA amount by even $1, you have problems with your claim.

I also agree with the assessment that SGA is too complicated. There are some very important exceptions and adjustments to the $980 per month SGA amount, including the unsuccessful work attempt. A thorough knowledge of these complicated SGA rules is critical, because SGA exceptions can make the difference between winning and losing a claim (the cliff).

This is an area where an attorney who specializes in Social Security disability claims can really help. Now that’s practical advice.