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Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits Amounts

Everything You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Benefits Amounts

disability benefit amounts

The social security disability application process can be overwhelming. You probably have many questions about your benefits, one of the most important being how much money you’ll qualify for each month if you get approved. The answer depends largely on your unique circumstances, but with a little bit research, you can begin to zero in on your likely disability benefits amount. 

In this post, the disability lawyers at Social Security Disability Advocates USA break down how your disability benefits amount is determined as well as how to get your claim approved as quickly as possible.

How Is the Amount of Social Security Disability Benefits Calculated?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) monthly payments are dependent upon your lifetime average earnings for which you paid into Social Security. As such, having access to your full work history becomes extremely important when estimating what your benefit amount may be.

Your earnings are averaged into one monthly average for as many as 35 of your highest-earning working years. This average is referred to as your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). The AIME is indexed against the past two years of the national average salary, an adjustment meant to illustrate your wage growth history and determine how your retirement benefits should increase similarly.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will then utilize your AIME to determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). Your PIA represents the amount of retirement benefits you would be paid at full retirement age. (You can find your full retirement age here.)

PIA includes three distinct percentages of your AIME. These portions of your AIME are determined by the exact year you turn 62, become disabled prior to age 62, or die before turning 62. The percentages of your AIME are fixed: 90%, 32%, and 15%. 

However, the dollar amount you use to calculate PIA will depend on that year’s bend points. For example, if the year you become disabled prior to turning 62 is 2020, you would substitute the following bend points into your PIA calculation:

  • 90% of the first $960 of your AIME
  • 32% of AIME over $960 but under $5,785
  • 15% of AIME over $5,785

Therefore, if your AIME is $3,750 and you become disabled in 2020:

  • Your PIA retains 90% of the first $960 of your AIME, which equals $864.
  • Your PIA retains 32% of your AIME over $960 but under $5785, which equals $892.80.

Your hypothetical overall PIA, when added together, is $1,756 (rounded down to the nearest whole dollar). This represents the base amount the Social Security Administration will use in calculating your benefit amount, which is done through a complicated and weighted formula.

The SSA provides a downloadable calculator on its website to help you determine your PIA and potential monthly benefit  given that you have all the information you need. Alternatively, a social security disability lawyer can assist you in gathering all the necessary documentation and ultimately estimating your monthly disability benefits amount.

What Is the Average Monthly Amount of Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you’re just looking for bottom-line, best, worst, and average case scenarios (without having to break out a calculator), it may be helpful to see a range of possible monthly SSDI benefit amounts.

  • The average amount for those receiving SSDI benefits in June 2020 was $1,427.67 per month, according to the Office of the Chief Actuary.
  • The maximum disability benefits amount as of 2020 is $3,011 per month.

Keep in mind that if you are considered low-income you may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income and receive both monthly payments from both programs.

Need Help Determining Your Disability Benefit Amount?

We understand that applying for disability benefits can be confusing and frustrating. Knowing that most applicants are denied the first time around may seem discouraging, but it doesn’t have to be. To get help with applying for Social Security programs, appealing a decision, or just to talk about your legal options, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA. 

We’ll schedule a free consultation to review your case and help you zero in on your potential disability benefits amount. Call us today at 602-952-3200, chat with us via LiveChat, or send us a message using our secure contact form. We are committed to serving our clients as safely and effectively as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic

Looking for more information? Check out the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know and follow us on Facebook.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance

social security disability application process

In order to be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must first complete the Social Security disability application process. Applying for benefits can be a long and arduous ordeal with many roadblocks along the way. Learn what you need to know about applying for SSDI benefits from Social Security Disability Advocates USA

Choosing Your Application Method

Disability benefit applications are collected and processed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA provides three ways for people to apply for benefits:

  • In Person. Applicants can apply for benefits in person at their local Social Security office by making an appointment. (Please note that during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many Social Security Offices remain closed.)
  • By Phone. A representative with the SSA can help you complete an application over the phone. You can schedule a phone interview by calling 1-800-772-1213. In person and phone applications will take at least one hour to complete.
  • Online. Applying for SSDI benefits online is by far the most convenient and quickest way to complete your application. The online application can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/

Collecting Necessary Documentation

Before you can begin the Social Security disability application process, you must first gather all the necessary and pertinent documents related to your disability. It is important to have as many of these records available before you begin in order to qualify for SSDI.

Personal Information

The application will ask for your name, place of birth, social security number, and contact information, including your place of residence, mailing address, phone number, and alternative contact information in the event that the SSA is unable to reach you.

Banking Information

The SSA will ask for your bank account type and number in addition to your bank routing number. The SSA will use this information to direct deposit your monthly benefits should your application for SSDI be accepted.

Family Details

If you are married or have ever been married, you will need proof of your marriage or divorce, including the name of your spouse, their social security number, and where the marriage occurred. Information regarding prior spouses is only required if the marriage lasted more than 10 years or ended in the death of the spouse.

If you have children under the age of 18 who are not married, the SSA will require their name and social security numbers in order for them to receive benefits. Children between the ages of 18 and 19 who are enrolled in secondary school full-time may also be entitled to benefits.

Education & Work History

The application will ask about your highest level of education, including any degrees or vocational training received. 

You should also have access to your most recent W-2 and the details of any jobs you have held over the past two years, including your start and end dates and total wages. In addition, you will need information for the past five job types you worked in the 15 years before you became disabled, including the types of duties assigned to you in these jobs.

If you served in the U.S military, you should include the type of duty, branch, and service beginning and end dates.

Workers’ Compensation

If you have received workers’ compensation due to a debilitating injury, be sure to locate your settlement agreement, claim number, and proof of any payments awarded to you.

Medical Records

Gather any documents you have regarding all of your diagnosed disabilities (this includes physical disabilities as well as emotional and learning problems) that significantly reduce your ability to work.

You should also know the names of doctors, therapists, emergency rooms, clinics, and hospitals that have treated you for your condition. Records of any medical tests or procedures you have had should also be included.

The SSA will also want to know any and all medications you take for your medical conditions, how long you have been taking them, and who prescribes them to you. If you are unable to procure any of these medical records on your own, a social security lawyer may be able to assist you in requesting them.

Submitting Your Application

If you have chosen to file your application in person, you should receive a letter in the mail with the date and time of your appointment at your local Social Security office. At your appointment, an SSA representative will interview you and complete an Adult Disability Report. 

If you’ve decided to apply over the phone, you will receive a phone call from an SSA representative at your scheduled interview time. The process is very similar to an in-person interview.

If you apply online, all you have to do is fill out the online questionnaire and submit it for review.  Regardless of how you apply, it generally takes between 3 and 5 months for the Social Security Administration to review and either approve or deny your claim.

Appealing the SSA’s Decision

A major reason why the Social Security disability application process is so frustrating is because in addition to having to wait a significant amount of time to find out if you’ve been approved, it is very common for the SSA to deny first-time applicants. 

Luckily, there is a way to help prevent getting your disability claim denied. By consulting a qualified and experienced social security disability attorney, you can help ensure that your initial application contains all the proof you need to establish your right to SSDI benefits.

When you work with the caring legal team at Social Security Disability Advocates USA, you’ll also have access to around the clock support if your claim is denied. The SSA appeals process is notoriously difficult to navigate on your own. Having us on your side means you can get the best outcome as quickly as possible. 

Protect your family and your financial future. To find out more about getting representation for your SSDI claim, call us today at 602-952-3200. Our no obligation initial consultations are free. You can also contact us by sending us a message through our secure contact form or by chatting with a representative via LiveChat. 

For more information about Social Security programs and the ultimate disability secrets the SSA doesn’t want you to know, check out our blog.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
Will I Still Be Eligible for Medicaid if I Start Getting Social Security Disability?

Will I Still Be Eligible for Medicaid if I Start Getting Social Security Disability?

Medicaid and disability

If you’re considering applying for Social Security disability benefits and are currently on Medicaid, you may be wondering what will happen to your health insurance if you get approved. 

Will you get to keep your current benefits? Will you have to pay out of pocket for a new health insurance plan? 

With the cost of American healthcare constantly on the rise, many applicants worry that qualifying for disability will ultimately cost them in the long run. In this post, Social Security Disability Advocates USA clears up some common misconceptions about Medicaid and disability and explains how to get the coverage you need.

The Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare

Before proceeding, it’s important to understand the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Medicaid is a federal government assistance program managed by individual states. It helps low-income individuals and families by providing free or very low-cost healthcare coverage. 

Medicare, on the other hand, is a federal government assistance program run by the federal government. It provides Americans who are over the age of 65 and/or have a qualifying disability with generally low-cost healthcare coverage. How much you ultimately pay for healthcare under Medicare varies depending on the Social Security taxes you’ve paid in the past.

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI Benefits

It’s also important to note the difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Some people may receive benefits from one program or the other, while other recipients may qualify for payments from both.

SSI is a program designed to assist those who are over the age of 65, blind, or otherwise disabled and who also have limited income or financial resources. SSI recipients do not need to have a certain number of work credits to obtain benefits. As of April 2020, the average monthly benefit for SSI is $576.47. 

SSDI benefits provide assistance to those with a qualifying disability who have also amassed a sufficient number of work credits. As of April 2020, the average benefits for SSDI is $1,121.75 per month.

If You’re On Medicaid and Qualify for SSI

If you are already on Medicaid in your state and you qualify for SSI, you will remain eligible for Medicaid as long as you continue to meet the state-specific requirements for Medicaid. Your SSI benefits will not be included as income when determining eligibility for Medicaid. However, if you receive SSI only, Medicare benefits will not be available to you until you reach the age of 65.

If You’re On Medicaid and Qualify for SSDI

If you are already on Medicaid in your state and you qualify for SSDI (but you do not also qualify for SSI), you will automatically qualify for Medicare after a 24-month waiting period. This waiting period begins five months after the date your qualifying disability began. These additional five months account for the required waiting period before you are eligible to receive disability in the first place.

Thus, if the onset of your disability was more than two years before you were approved for SSDI benefits, you may be able to begin receiving Medicare benefits sooner. Keep in mind that the Social Security Administration only allows retroactive disability payments up to twelve months, meaning your disability onset date may only be recognized as late as 17 months before the day you applied for benefits (taking into account the five-month waiting period). 

As such, your actual waiting period for Medicare could be as little as one year, as opposed to two years and five months. Medicaid may be available in the meantime for those awaiting Medicare coverage.

If You’re On Medicaid and Qualify for SSI and SSDI

If you are already on Medicaid in your state and you qualify for both SSI and SSDI benefits, there is no hard and fast rule on whether you’ll qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. In some cases, it may be possible to receive Medicaid and Medicare benefits simultaneously. Remember that when it comes to Medicaid, although SSI does not count as income, SSDI does.

Need Help Applying for Disability Benefits?

Applying for disability benefits can be a long, confusing, and frustrating process. Waiting periods and application denials are an unfortunately common occurrence. At Social Security Disability Advocates USA, we have the skill and the experience needed to successfully secure disability benefits in the easiest, quickest manner possible. 

If you have questions about Medicaid and disability, contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation. We’ll review your case to give you the best picture of all your legal options. Call us at 602-952-3200. You can also get in touch with us using our LiveChat feature or by sending us the details of your claim through our contact form.

To find out more ultimate disability secrets, you can follow us on Facebook.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
Where Do I Get Help With SSDI Benefits During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Where Do I Get Help With SSDI Benefits During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

SSDI appeal process

With SSA office closures in effect since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, getting help with your social security disability claim may seem more difficult than ever. Many services can be accessed online, but what if you have questions about your benefits? Who can you talk to about the SSDI appeal process if your claim has been denied?

At Social Security Disability Advocates USA, we’re committed to remaining available to our clients through safe and secure avenues such as by phone, email, video, and when the time is right, in person. Find out more about how to get assistance with your claim, including applying for the first time, checking your application status, and appealing your case.

How Long Will Social Security Administration Field Offices Remain Closed?

The Social Security Administration has not yet released a reopening date for SSA field offices and hearing offices. Citing concern for older Americans and those with underlying medical conditions that may make them more susceptible to COVID-19, the SSA will likely remain closed until coronavirus transmission rates decline considerably. 

Which SSA Services Are Available Online and by Phone?

Fortunately, although physical offices remain closed to the public, SSA offers many services online or by telephone. Online services include:

  • Applying for benefits
  • Checking the status of an application or appeal
  • Accessing proof of your benefits
  • Changing your contact information
  • Updating direct deposit information
  • Appealing a decision
  • Estimating your retirement benefits
  • Requesting a replacement Social Security or Medicare card

For services that can be accessed via telephone, call the agency’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Please be advised that wait times will likely be longer than usual and that hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Automated telephone services are available 24/7 for certain services. Visit https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/ for more information, including resources for those who are visually impaired, hard of hearing, or require a translator.

How Does the SSDI Appeal Process Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

If you applied for Social Security Disability Insurance and had your claim denied, you’re not alone. In fact, most first-time SSDI applications are denied, often due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence of your disability. This is where the SSDI appeal process comes in.

There are four levels of disability appeals, including reconsideration, hearings, review by the Appeals Council and, should these fail, filing a lawsuit in federal court. 

Appealing a disability denial can be a long and arduous process, especially now that hearing offices are closed due to the pandemic. Claimants may face longer wait times and remote telephone hearings instead of in-person appeals. You may also have a more difficult time accessing the medical records and other documents you need to prove your case and meet strict deadlines.

How Can a Social Security Disability Representative Help?

Even under the best of circumstances, applying for benefits or traversing the SSDI appeal process can be complex and lengthy. When you contact a SSDI attorney at Social Security Disability Advocates, you’ll have access to an experienced professional with the specific knowledge you need to resolve your case as quickly and favorably as possible.

We’ll assist you every step of the way, from requesting and gathering all the necessary documentation to arranging and representing you in a video hearing to appeal the decision on your case. Even during the pandemic, our office remains committed to serving our most vulnerable populations in need. We will do whatever we can to accommodate you, including offering a free consultation via phone or video to discuss your case.

Call us today at 602-952-3200. You can also get in touch with us via LiveChat, or by submitting the details of your case using our secure contact form

For more information, check out the ultimate disability secrets you need to know before filing your claim.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
COVID-19 Scams to Watch Out For

COVID-19 Scams to Watch Out For

COVID-19 scams

During these turbulent times, it’s more important than ever to help keep yourself and your family safe. Unfortunately, scammers and thieves alike will use this time to attempt to prey upon those who are vulnerable. Learn how to identify the latest COVID-19 scams with these helpful tips.

1. Social Security Benefits Are NOT Affected by COVID-19

Social security scams have been around for a long time, but many scammers are using the novel coronavirus to scare victims into divulging their personal information or giving them money. 

If you receive a letter, phone call, text message, or email from someone claiming that your social security disability benefits or your retirement benefits have been suspended or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is an obvious tip-off that someone is trying to scam you.

Although SSA offices remain closed, social security payments will continue as scheduled per the Social Security Office of the Inspector General.

2. The IRS Will Not Ask For Your Payment Information

With the recent disbursement of coronavirus stimulus checks, the IRS has seen an uptick in fraudulent activity and COVID-19 scams. Scammers may contact you through phone, email, or regular mail asking for your banking information in order to process your economic impact payment. 

Please be aware that direct deposit information used to file your 2018 or 2019 taxes will most likely be used to send your coronavirus stimulus check. If direct deposit information is not available, the IRS will send you a paper check by USPS mail. The IRS will not contact you asking for this information.

The only secure way to check the status of your economic impact payment is by using the IRS Get My Payment tool. If you did not file taxes for 2018 or 2019, you can also safely update your payment information on the IRS website.

3. COVID-19 Tests Are Not Available Door-to-Door or by Mail 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, some scammers have reportedly attempted to sell fake COVID-19 tests either over the phone, through email, or door-to-door. The scammer will usually ask the victim for their personal details, including Medicare information, in exchange for a COVID-19 test. 

The scammer can use your personal information to fraudulently bill federal health care programs or commit medical identity theft. Remember, the only way to obtain a legitimate COVID-19 test at this time is from a licensed medical provider or at an official testing center.

4. Additional Tips to Avoid Scams

In addition to the tips outlined above, there are other more general things you can do to protect yourself from potential scams. These include:

  • Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers may use tactics like spoofing to make fraudulent phone numbers that look like they are coming from the IRS or another agency. Do not divulge personal information based on the caller ID alone. Remember, the SSA and IRS will not ask for these details over the phone.
  • If someone is asking you to wire money or purchase gift cards, this is most likely a scam. Do not engage with callers or emails asking for these kinds of transfers. Report suspected COVID-19 scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud by calling 1-866-720-5721 or by emailing [email protected].
  • The SSA will never suspend your social security number or your bank accounts. Anyone who tries to persuade you to divulge information or pay money to avoid these suspensions is a scammer.

The best way to avoid scams is to stay informed. The more often you can recognize these scammers and frauds for what they are, the less likely you are to inadvertently compromise your personal information or benefits. 

To find out more about protecting your SSDA and retirement benefits contact the SSA office directly. If you need assistance applying for or appealing your disability claim, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today at 602-952-3200. You can also get in touch by using our LiveChat service, or by filling out our secure contact form.