The shortest answer to the question posed in the title above is that your Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, payments are based on your average lifetime earnings prior to the disability affecting your ability to work.
Many make the mistake of believing that SSDI amounts are based on the severity of a disability or the amount of income they have available. While there are average amounts ranging from $800 to over $1800 per month, SSDI is not the only income available for those with disabilities, and that too affects how much SSDI is available. The maximum benefit (as of 2020) is $3011 per month.
The Social Security Administration, or the SSA, has a formula that is put to use for each individual in order to calculate their SSDI payment.
Your Social Security income is based on the amount you have paid into Social Security taxes. Known as “covered earnings, these figures are turned into AIME or average indexed monthly earnings through a special SSA formula. The result of this is your PIA or primary insurance amount that is the base figure for your SSDI amount.
Now, it would be great if we could just jot out the formula here, but the truth of the matter is that it uses something known as bend points that are adjusted annually. It might look like 90% of your AIME added to a specific amount of your PIA and then a further, smaller percentage, to the next portion, and so on.
The good news is that you don’t have to wonder and worry if you think that you might have to submit an SSDI claim. Why not? You can always use our Disability Calculator, which tells you a good estimate of what you can anticipate in SSA payments.
Try to remember, though, that your SSDI can be affected by other government-regulated disability benefits like workers’ compensation payments or state disability payments. Generally, you won’t be able to take more than 80% of the average earnings prior to the disability if you receive other benefits (apart from monies from a private a long-term disability insurance policy).
When you apply for SSDI and when you get it are always two different dates. In almost all claims for disability income, a claimant is going to qualify for backpay or past due disability benefits. The amounts are figured by the date you applied, the date of the disability, and if a waiting period applies.