How much does permanent Social Security Disability (SSD) pay?

The amount of your monthly payments will depend on which SSD program you qualify for. In the case of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your average lifetime earnings prior to your disability determine how much you receive. The severity of your disability and your current assets are irrelevant in calculating your SSDI payment.

The average monthly SSDI payment amount for 2017 is $1,171. Your benefit may be even less than this amount.

In the case of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your monthly payment amount starts out at a federally mandated number. Then, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reduces that monthly payment by any countable income you earn. For 2017, the monthly payment amount for an individual begins at $735.

How do I calculate my SSDI payment?

The formula to calculate SSDI payments is complex and ever-changing. So even if you know your average lifetime earnings, you will not be able to calculate your benefit to an exact amount. However, you can come up with a reasonable estimate.

To calculate your SSDI benefit, you have to understand the difference between your total earnings and your covered earnings. Your total earnings comprise all the income you earned in a given year. Your covered earnings make up the earnings on which you and your employer paid Social Security taxes. As of 2017, you and your employer pay 12.4% in Social Security taxes on the first $127,200 of your yearly income. Any money you make above that amount is not subject to Social Security taxes.

What is the SSDI benefit calculation formula?

The SSA averages your covered earnings over the years to come up with your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). It applies a formula to your AIME to come up with your benefit amount.

The SSA tweaks the formula from year to year. In 2017, your monthly SSDI benefit will reflect the following percentages:

  • 90% of AIME up to $885.
  • 32% of AIME from $885 to $5,336.
  • 15% of AIME above $5,336.

The SSA’s website provides a benefits calculator so you can enter your salary information yourself and estimate your benefits using their formula. If you would like a more detailed look at your possible SSDI benefits, you can contact the SSA directly or speak to a disability attorney.

What if I do not know my earnings history?

If you cannot recall your earnings history over the years, the SSA provides a couple of options to estimate your benefits.

Once you reach age 60, the SSA sends an annual statement detailing your earnings history. The statement includes an estimate of what your benefit amount would be if you started receiving SSD benefits that year. Unless your income has changed drastically in the interim, your most recent statement should offer a reasonable estimate of your benefit amount.

You can also check your earnings history at any time by logging on to the SSA’s website.

What if I receive other benefits for my disability?

SSDI is not the only benefit you can receive when you are disabled. You may receive coverage under another federal or state disability program, or maybe you had the foresight to take out a disability policy from a private insurance company. Depending on their source, these payments may affect your monthly SSD benefit amount.

Benefits from private insurance policies do not affect your SSDI benefit amount. However, if you receive other government disability benefits, they might affect your SSDI.

The SSA does not allow you to earn more than 80% of your previous average income in government disability benefits. So if your other benefits push you above this threshold, the SSA reduces your SSDI accordingly. That said, two types of government benefits will not reduce your SSDI amount: SSI benefits and veteran’s disability benefits.

What if I disagree with my benefit amount?

The SSA does not always get your benefit amount correct when it approves you for SSD. The appeal process can be long and complicated, which is why it helps to have one of the experienced disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group working for you. Our lawyers know the law and, chances are, they have handled many situations similar to yours in the past.

We have years of experience with disability claims and will pursue your case aggressively. Call today at 865-566-0800 for a consultation.

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