SSDI calculations are complicated, and the total varies per person. Your monthly benefits will depend on how much you’ve paid into Social Security through wages. The severity of your disability does not matter in the calculation.
While you can make basic calculations to get a general idea of how much your benefits will be, ultimately, you’ll need the assistance of one of our experienced lawyers to learn how your SSDI is calculated. To learn more about how your SSDI gets calculated, let’s look at how the Social Security Administration (SSA) approaches calculation.
What Is the Average Size of SSDI Payments?
As of 2022, most people receive between $700 and $1,400 per month through SSDI. The average monthly benefit for 2022 is $1,358, and the maximum is $3,345 per month. If you are receiving benefits from other places, it can affect your monthly benefits.
Your payments could be lower or higher than the average for different reasons. For example, some disabilities, like blindness, automatically get more money than other disabilities. Speak with an SSDI lawyer to see if your situation qualifies for more money.
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How Do I Receive SSDI Benefits?
Your SSDI benefits come from your “covered earnings.” When you worked a job, your employer deducted a portion for Social Security (FICA) taxes. If you were self-employed, part of your taxes would go to Social Security.
To qualify for SSDI, you must have earned enough work credits.
- You can typically earn one work credit for every $1,510 in earnings. Previous years would require fewer earnings per credit.
- You can earn up to four work credits per year.
- Most adults will need at least 40 work credits. 20 of those credits should come from the last 10 years before your disability.
If you worked much at all before becoming disabled, you’d likely have enough work credits. The more you have paid into Social Security, the higher your SSDI calculation will be.
How the SSA Calculates Your Monthly SSDI Payment
When you apply for SSDI benefits, the SSA will look at what you’ve paid into Social Security taxes from your income. The formula starts with your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). The AIME is your average earnings from Social Security-covered income, adjusted for wage growth.
However, the SSA doesn’t use every year that you’ve worked. First, they count up the number of years from age 22 to the year before you were disabled, drop a certain number of years, then take that number of your highest-earning years to make the AIME.
After getting your AIME, the SSA will determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), also known as your full retirement benefit. The SSA uses your PIA to determine a base point for your benefits. This is a complicated calculation that, for non-retirees, depends on the age you become unable to work.
The Primary Insurance Amount for SSDI
The amount of money you get from SSDI depends on the PIA calculation. It is a progressive formula, like how taxes work but in reverse. The more you’ve earned, the less you’ll get for the higher brackets of income.
If you become eligible for SSDI benefits in 2022, your PIA would be the total of:
- 90% of the first $1,024 of your AIME
- 32% of your AIME between $1,024 and $6,172
- 15% of your AIME over $6,172
The SSA totals each of these percentages and rounds the sum to the lower multiple of 10 cents. Each portion is the “bend point” for calculating your SSDI. The monthly SSDI benefit amount is unique to each person, but the average amount for SSDI payments in January 2022 was $1,358/month.
To know the numbers for your case, you can check your Social Security account‘s annual statement. The SSA also has an online benefit calculator where you can enter the numbers yourself.
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How does SSDI Back Pay Get Calculated?
Back payments, also known as “back pay,” cover the time between when your disability started and when you got approval. There is a five-month waiting period after you become disabled. After that waiting period, you are eligible for benefits beginning on the sixth whole month of disability.
Many SSDI applications take time to process. Sometimes, it can take years. After approval, you can receive back pay for the months you should have received benefits. The SSA will look at when you became disabled, subtract the waiting period, and send back pay up until your approval.
Many applicants get their back payments around 60 days after approval. However, if your disabled status started well before applying for benefits, you could receive retroactive payments for up to 12 months.
Other Benefits Could Affect SSDI Calculations
Some benefits from other programs will affect your SSDI calculation. Other government benefits, such as workers’ compensation, can reduce your SSDI. In addition, you cannot get over 80% of your average income before your disability.
That includes the sum of SSDI and other related benefits. However, private disability insurance should not affect your SSDI payments. The same goes for veterans’ benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
I’m Extremely Poor. Can I Receive SSI and SSDI?
If your SSDI payment calculations are below a certain amount, you can qualify for Supplemental Security Income and SSDI at the same time. This is called a concurrent claim. However, the restrictions on working are stronger for SSI payments.
You might also be eligible for this program if you have insufficient work credits before becoming disabled. For many SSA programs, you need to pay into the system for at least 10 years to access them, but there are ways to get money if you’re injured early in life.
If you’re eligible for both programs, the calculation of the amount gets more complicated. You will need to speak with the SSA or an SSDI lawyer for advice on how to handle this situation and how future work will affect your benefits.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer to Help You
When you hire one of our experienced SSDI lawyers to help you, we will do more than just calculate your SSDI benefits for you. We can:
- Gather evidence and documentation that supports your disability
- Consult with experts in various fields to support your application
- Handle all appeals and rejections on your behalf
- Represent your best interests at all times with any party involved in the application process
Getting SSDI benefits is notoriously difficult, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing or where to begin. This shouldn’t discourage you from applying. If you want to get the benefits that you’ve paid into all your working life, know that help is only a phone call away.
Apply for SSDI Today With Confidence
Applying for SSDI isn’t easy. However, you don’t have to spend hours on end reading tons of documents and sifting through legal jargon. We can help you apply with confidence by ensuring that your application gets filled out correctly and that you don’t have to worry about anything going wrong during the process.
Even if you get rejected, which happens a lot, don’t give up hope just yet. We can always ensure that you have the best chance for an appeal for the next round. There are many legal options available for you that you can only get if you have a strong lawyer by your side throughout the whole process.
Talk to an SSDI Lawyer During a Free Consultation Today
The SSDI process is often confusing and stressful. At John Foy & Associates, we want to make the experience as simple as possible for you. We can help calculate your SSDI benefits, improve your claim, or appeal an SSDI denial.
Our lawyers do not charge a fee unless we win your case. Plus, the consultation is always 100% free. So, get in touch with us today, and we’ll match you with the best disability attorney for your situation. Call us or contact us online to schedule an appointment.