Monday, October 28, 2013

socialNsecurity Chap 3


Step 1 determines if a person is "working", according to the Social Security Administration definition.
The claimant has the burden of proof and the burden of going forward with the evidence at Steps 1 through 4. You, as the claimant, must prove with clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that you are not engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
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.

Amounts for 2010
The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2010 is $1640. For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2010 is $1000. 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
Earning more than this amount a month as an employee is enough for disqualification from receiving Social Security disability benefits.
The SGA limit on earned income as a cutoff point for social security disability eligibility does not exist to guarantee fairness or a standard of living commensurate with one's past earning potential. It simply exists as a somewhat arbitrary cutoff limit that reflects a notion of minimal subsistence. In other words, if a claimant earns the SGA amount per month, or higher, they will be considered capable of engaging in substantial gainful work activity and, consequently, will not be deemed disabled. Earning less than the SGA amount may preserve the supposition that they are disabled (if they are currently receiving), or eligible to receive benefits (if they are in the process of applying).  If you are self-employed, the determination is a bit more complicated. It would be wise to consult a Social Security disability lawyer.


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