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.

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