How Much in Social Security Disability Benefits Can You Get?

Each and every year, millions of Americans suffer from a disabling condition. It is not uncommon for a disability to interfere with an individual’s ability to work and earn an income. As a result, these disabled individuals must rely on Social Security Disability benefits to make ends meet. Many of the people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits find themselves uncertain as to how much money they will receive each month from the Social Security Administration.

If you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, how much will you be paid each month when your benefit check arrives? Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t always cut and dry. There are, however, ways that you can estimate what you might expect from the Social Security Administration. If you are wondering just how much cash you are eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help you understand the ways of determining your monthly disability benefit amount may be.

When Your Benefits Start

If your application is approved, your first Social Security benefit will be paid for the sixth full month after the date we find that your disability began.

For example, if your disability began on June 15, 2015, your first benefit would be paid for the month of December 2015, the sixth full month of disability.

Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they’re due. This means that the benefit due for December would be paid to you in January 2016, and so on.

The Average Disability Benefit

While it is impossible to tell exactly how much you will receive in Social Security Disability benefits until you’re actually approved for benefits by the Social Security Administration, knowing the average Social Security Disability payment can shed some light on how much money the typical disability recipient is entitled to.

As of 2008, the average SSDI payment to people who qualify for Social Security Disability benefits was $1,063.00 per month. The average SSI benefit was $439 per month. The amount you receive if you are eligible for disability benefits may be higher or lower than these amounts depending on your past earnings, your current gains and the number of dependents living in your household.

How Are My Benefits Calculated?

The SSA uses your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) to calculate your benefits. The formula Social Security uses is quite complicated, and most people won’t be interested in trying to compute their benefits on their own, especially because Social Security can give you an estimate.

To give you an idea of what you might receive, for 2017, the average SSDI benefit amount is $1,171 per month, but those whose income was fairly high in recent years can receive up to $2,687.

Disabled Widows and Widower’s Benefits

Individuals who are at least fifty years old who have become disabled within a certain amount of time following the death of their spouse may qualify for Disabled Widows and Widower’s disability benefits. In order to qualify for this benefit, the deceased spouse must have worked and earned enough work credits under the Social Security program to be insured by the SSA. There are no income or asset limits associated with this type of disability benefit. The amount of money received each month by individuals who qualify for this particular benefit will depend on how much cash the partner earned while he or she was alive.

Amount of Disability Backpay

By the time they get their approval letter from Social Security, most disability applicants are eligible for back payments of benefits. A number of months of back payments you’ll receive will depend on when you applied for SSDI and the date the SSA decided you became disabled (called your “established onset date,” or EOD.) The amount of your back pay depends on your own monthly benefit amount.

How much you’ll receive in back pay is dependent on your SSDI monthly amount. How many months of back payments you get will be determined by your application date and your established date of start (when your disability started). If you previously applied for disability benefits, you may be able to get back pay going back to the original application date.

In addition to getting payments going back to your application date, you can get up to 12 months of retroactive payments for the year prior to your application date (or your protective filing date, discussed below)-if you were disabled that long ago. You cannot get benefits for before your EOD (again, your disability onset date).

Getting Additional Support and Assistance

Should you be accepted for Social Security Disability benefits and you feel that the monthly amount you are awarded is not enough to cover your day-to-day living expenses, you might want to check with your local state agency to see what other forms of assistance you may be entitled to. Some states supplement the SSI payments received by their residents and others provide other forms of assistance, such as medical care and food stamp benefits. Your local state agency can discuss what additional assistance if any, you may be entitled to in addition to Social Security Disability benefits.