Most of our readers know that millions of people throughout the country suffer from injuries in a wide variety of accidents every year. Some are injured in household accidents, others playing sports and many more are injured in car accidents. Although the vast majority of these accidents are fairly easy to recover from, there are some that leave the injured victim with a serious medical condition, and as a result they will need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits in order to secure financial assistance.
However, not everyone is approved to receive SSD benefits. In fact, many applicants are denied on their initial application. For some of these applicants, the term "substantial gainful activity" may play a part in their denial of benefits.
What is "substantial gainful activity"? Well, it is a term that is used by the Social Security Administration when making a determination as to whether or not the work and income that a person is able to earn is enough to sustain the person -- meaning, basically, that the person's disability is not severe enough to warrant approval to receive SSD benefits.
SSD benefits are, in general, reserved for those individuals who are facing a complete inability to work due to their disability. When individuals believe they will be unable to work due to a disability, it can be very important to include medical details in the initial application for benefits that show without a doubt that the person does not have a temporary disability, but instead suffers from a permanent disability that will prevent the person from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
Source: Enterprise, "Social Security Q&A: What Is Substantial Gainful Activity?," Feb. 7, 2016