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How SGA impacts a disability application

Tennessee residents who are applying for federal disability benefits are advised to keep track of the substantial gainful activity, or SGA, threshold. In 2019, those who are making more than $1,200 a month are not entitled to receive a monthly Social Security disability payment. The application will not be reviewed by an examiner, which means there is no chance that it will be approved.

However, if an individual's income drops below the SGA limit, he or she may be able to apply for benefits at that point. Those who are currently receiving a check from the government could have those payments suspended if their income rises above the SGA amount. Individuals may be entitled to a disability payment if they have a physical or mental impairment that makes it impossible to work. In some cases, applications may be approved because a person has multiple conditions that make it impossible to maintain gainful employment.

In addition to income levels, an examiner will also check to see how an impairment impacts a person's ability to work. This is known as a functional capacity rating or a mental residual functional capacity rating. If it gets to the hearing level, a judge may use medical or other evidence to rule on the severity of an individual's impairment.

Those who have a disabling health condition may want to consider filing for Social Security disability benefits. This may make it easier to pay for living expenses or help pay for medical costs related to their condition. If a person has had his or her application for benefits denied, an attorney may help with an appeal. Appealing a denial may allow an individual to take his or her case before a judge, which might improve the odds of obtaining approval.

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