How Much Do You Get for Social Security Disability?

By Kenton Koszdin Law Office on June 18, 2023 | In Social Security Disability

How Much Do You Get for Social Security Disability?

The average Social Security disability insurance payment in 2022 was $1,358 per month, while the maximum SSDI payment was $3,345.00 per month, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). The average Social Security disability benefits amount (SSDI) is expected to rise to $1,483 per month in 2023, while the maximum SSDI payment will be $3,627.00 per month.

SSDI benefits are based on the recipient’s lifetime earnings from work, not the extent of the individual’s disability or household size.

The SSA annual statement’s estimated benefits section lists your expected payment. This guide covers what you can expect to receive for SSDI. If you have problems with your claim, contact a Social Security disability lawyer.

How Much Does Social Security Pay in California?

SSDI is a federal benefit, so the calculations of benefits apply no matter which state you’re in. Since different states have different wages, California’s average SSDI benefit amount is higher than other states because the average wage is higher. The monthly disability payments from the Social Security Administration were $1,358.30 for the country and $1,395.93 in California.

The Social Security Administration calculates benefits by using an individual’s average indexed monthly earnings and primary insurance amount. Your SSDI payments are based on your earned wages.

Recipient 2023 Amount 2024 Amount
SSDI Individual $1,483 $1,483 + COLA increase
SSI Individual $914 $947
SSI Couple $1,371 $1,320

How Are Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits Calculated?

The SSA uses a formula for calculating disability payments based on the total amount you earned. You can use the SSA’s online benefits calculator to estimate your disability monthly payment. This year, the average monthly Social Security disability amount is $1,358, although it could be affected by inflation, with a cost of living increase, for 2024.

The SSA uses your lifetime earnings and the amount you paid in Social Security taxes when calculating Social Security benefits. These average indexed monthly earnings are based on your average covered earnings for several years.

Then, another formula is applied to your AIME to determine your primary insurance amount or the monthly benefit you receive from SSDI. This is why it’s so important to work with an experienced California SSDI benefits lawyer to ensure they’re getting the correct monthly benefit.

Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME)

what is my social security disability benefit amount

The SSA calculates your AIME using your total lifetime earnings, accounting for the increase in general wages that happened for your working career. This ensures that future payments you receive match the rise in general wages.

Up to 35% of your working years are used to calculate the AIME. It uses the years with the highest indexed earnings and adds them together. Then, this annual total is divided by 12 and rounded down to arrive at the average monthly AIME.

Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)

The PIA is your base amount of Social Security benefits. The SSA totals three fixed percentages of the AIME to arrive at the PIA total. These are called “bend points” and are changed annually to reflect the current national average wage index (accounting for inflation, etc.)

For example, if you become eligible for SSDI benefits in 2023, your PIA would be 90% of the first $1,115 of your AIME. Then, if your AIME is higher, you will receive 32% of the AIME for earnings between $1,116 and $6,721. If your AIME is higher than $6,271, you will receive 15% of your AIME for earnings over $6,722.

If the sum of each percentage doesn’t end in a round multiple of $0.10, the total benefit will be rounded down to the nearest multiple of $0.10. If you feel a little confused by the math and divisions of your averages, you aren’t alone; the SSA has an online calculator for benefits.

How is SSDI calculated?

The math is kind of complicated, so take the following equations as an example:

The SSA calculates your AIME as $5,000. Your benefits are:

  • 90% of the first $1,115 you earn = $1,003.50;
  • 32% of the remainder, $3,885 = $1,243.20;
  • The total will be $2,246,70.

In this case, the final division, 15% of any wages earned over $6,721, won’t apply because the recipient’s AIME was only $5,000. If you’re unsure whether the SSA used your highest-earning years, you may want to speak with an attorney.

Calculating the Amount of Your Disability Backpay

social security disability benefits amount

When you receive a letter of approval for your Social Security disability benefits, you will likely be eligible for backpay. The SSA uses your established onset date (EOD), or the date it determines you became disabled, as the date that you would have started becoming eligible for benefits.

If you become disabled in March and apply for benefits in April but the SSA doesn’t process and approve your application until July, you’ll be eligible for backpay from the March EOD. The total amount of Social Security disability backpay disabled workers receive is based on their monthly PIA.

You’re also eligible for up to 12 months of retroactive payments for the year before you applied for SSDI benefits. The protective filing date (PFD) is the date you filed for benefits. Bear in mind that you can’t get payments or backpay for the period before your EOD since you weren’t disabled before the EOD.

SSDI Can Be Affected by Other Disability Income

social security disability amount

There are a few things that can impact your disability benefits amount. Many disabled workers may not have their SSDI payment amount reduced, but if you receive one of these other benefits, your SSDI benefit will be reduced:

  • Workers’ Compensation: If you have workers’ comp benefits through your employer, you may qualify for both but only receive up to 80% of your income from your last job for both sources combined;
  • California State Disability Benefits, Short-Term Disability Benefits: You still qualify for SSDI if you receive these benefits;
  • Other Government Pensions: For example, with a state pension, you pay into it instead of Social Security, so this can also reduce what you’re owed for SSDI.

If you receive supplemental security income, your SSDI won’t be impacted.

Do I Pay Taxes on Social Security Payments?

Yes and no — you may pay Social Security taxes on some of your SSDI benefits, up to half the amount you receive. The IRS calculates your monthly SSDI benefit as income and establishes an income threshold; once you reach it, you start paying taxes. The income threshold amounts are as follows:

  • Single, head of household, married filing separately, or widower: $25,000;
  • Married filing jointly: $32,000;
  • Filing separately but living with the spouse during the tax year: $0.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are not taxable.

Does Cost of Living Affect My Social Security Disability Payments?

The average monthly disability benefit will likely increase each year as a cost of living adjustment (COLA). The COLA for each year is determined by the country’s consumer price index, which accounts for inflation and other factors that increase your cost of living. Some years, the Social Security disability payment amount increase is around 3%, but in 2022, the COLA for SSDI was 8.7%. The average COLA is 3-5%.

Get Help Establishing Disability

Do you need help with a Social Security disability benefits claim? Are you still unsure how much is SS disability for your injury? We can help.

The Kenton Koszdin Law Office, a skilled team of Social Security disability lawyers, can help you file a claim for SSDI payments, get the correct amount for your PIA calculated, and ensure you receive all backpay to which you are entitled.

You have enough to worry about with your disability and possibly being out of work for a long period; let us handle dealing with the Social Security Administration for you. Contact us today for a free Social Security disability fits consultation!

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