BASIC (08-00)

DI 24001.001 Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

The principles and procedures in this subchapter regarding SGA are applicable to blind and nonblind individuals under title II and to initial determinations on nonblind individuals under title XVI. The SGA tests were never applicable to blind individuals under title XVI. For work activity performed after July 1, 1987, the SGA tests are no longer applicable to post-eligibility title XVI nonblind work determinations.

To meet the definition of disability (for impairments other than blindness) an individual must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment.

“Substantial gainful activity” means the performance of significant physical or mental activities in work for pay or profit, or in work of a type generally performed for pay or profit. Significant activities are useful in the accomplishment of a job or the operation of a business and have economic value. Work may be substantial even if it is performed on a seasonal or part-time basis, or even if the individual does less, is paid less, or has less responsibility than in previous work. Work activity is gainful if it is the kind of work usually done for pay, whether in cash or in kind, or for profit, whether or not a profit is realized. Activities involving self-care, household tasks, unpaid training, hobbies, therapy, school attendance, clubs, social programs, etc., are not generally considered to be SGA.


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DI 24001.001 - Definition of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) - 05/13/1999
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:05/13/1999