Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be awarded to any disabled individual, regardless of their income. But in addition to being disabled, an applicant must also have worked long enough to contribute a significant amount of money through Social Security taxes.
To determine if you have worked long enough to qualify, the SSA converts your income into “work credits.” The amount of income that equals one work credit changes every year. In 2020, you need to earn $1,410 in covered earnings -- wages subject to Social Security or FICA withholding -- in order to earn one credit. You must earn $5,640 to receive the maximum of four credits for the year.
How SSDI Payments are Calculated
The severity of your disability does not affect the amount of SSDI benefits you receive. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses your lifetime average earnings prior to your disability to determine how much you will be paid. Your covered earnings are then used to calculate your benefit amount.
Your SSDI monthly benefit is based on your average covered earnings over time, which is known as your “average indexed monthly earnings” (AIME). The SSA then applies a formula to these amounts to determine your primary insurance amount (PIA).
On average, SSDI payments range between $800 and $1,800 per month. The maximum benefit you could receive in 2020 is $3,011 per month. The SSA has an online benefits calculator that you can use to obtain an estimate of your monthly benefits.
Once your monthly benefit has been calculated and your SSDI application has been approved, you may be entitled to a back pay award. The amount of back pay you may receive depends on the date you applied for benefits as well as the onset date for your disability.
SSDI Payments May Be Reduced by Other Income
Your monthly SSDI payment could be reduced if you receive other government benefits, including workers’ compensation, temporary state disability benefits, or any pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security, such as a government pension.
If you are disabled, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our attorneys guide you through the process of obtaining Social Security disability benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.