The maximum for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is unique for each person. How much you’ll receive depends on your situation and what you’ve paid into Social Security. Let’s look at what 100% SSDI can mean for you.
What Equals 100% in SSDI?
To qualify for SSDI, you must have a total disability. Under the Social Security Administration (SSA), a complete disability means:
- You have a medical condition that prevents you from working.
- Your condition will last at least 12 months (or result in death).
- You cannot do any past or new forms of work.
If you have a total disability, you must also have paid into Social Security. When you earn wages, a portion goes towards Social Security taxes. If you’ve paid into these taxes enough, you qualify for disability benefits.
Most people must have at least 40 work credits to qualify. You must have earned 20 of those credits within the 10 years before your disability. In 2020, one work credit equaled $1,410 in wages or self-employed income. You can earn up to four work credits per year.
The SSA will consider all of the above when determining your SSDI. According to the SSA 2020 fact sheet, the average monthly amount for SSDI was $1,258. Your benefits could be less or more than the average. The maximum Social Security benefit was $3,011 per month for a worker retiring at full retirement age.
How Much SSDI Benefits Will You Get?
The SSA will use a complicated formula to calculate your benefits. Since benefits depend on total disability, your SSDI benefits will be 100% of what you qualify to receive.
Any income you’ve paid into Social Security taxes is “covered earnings.” The average covered earnings over a specific time is your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). The SSA will use your AIME to calculate your primary insurance amount (PIA). This number will determine your benefits.
Your yearly Social Security statement will show your covered earnings. You can also use the SSA’s online calculator to see what your benefits will be. You can also have a local Social Security office or SSDI lawyer help you estimate your benefits.
Can You Receive Less Than 100% of Your SSDI Benefits?
Some factors can reduce your SSDI benefits. Temporary state disability benefits, workers’ compensation, and other government benefits can impact SSDI.
You cannot get over 80% of the average income you earned before your disability. If you earn more than that percentage through other income, it might reduce your SSDI. However, private disability insurance benefits will not impact your SSDI.
When Will You Receive Your SSDI Payments?
If the SSA approves you for benefits, you’ll get your monthly benefits. There is a five-month waiting period. You must have been disabled for five months before you can receive benefits.
You’ll receive payments starting on the sixth full month after your disability began. You can collect payments through direct deposit or have them loaded onto a debit card. Your benefits will come through on a Wednesday. Depending on your birth date, you might get your payments on the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of the month.
Although there is a waiting period, you should apply for benefits as soon as possible. There is no waiting period for when you can file a claim. Some conditions are severe enough to get nearly-automatic approval.
How Does the SSA Approve an SSDI Application?
The SSA has a specific process for evaluating SSDI applications. They will ask a series of questions to see if you’re fully disabled:
Are You Currently Working?
If you are working and earning more than a certain amount, you will not qualify. You must not be engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).
In 2020, the limit for SGA is $1,260 per month. This number changes each year, so check with a Social Security Disability lawyer to be sure. If you are not making SGA, you’ll move on to the next question.
Is Your Condition “Severe”?
You must have a condition that impairs your ability to work. The SSA maintains a list of conditions that they consider disabling. If your condition is not on the list, the SSA will compare your condition to a similar one.
A severe condition prevents you from basic tasks like standing, sitting, and walking. If you can do some form of work, the SSA will not consider you disabled. If your condition is severe, you’ll move to the next question.
Can You Do Any Form of Work?
First, the SSA will see if you can do any work that you used to do. If so, you will not be considered disabled. If not, the SSA will see if you can perform other types of work.
If Social Security determines that you cannot do any work with your condition, it will consider you disabled.
If you have a total disability and have earned enough work credits, the SSA should approve your claim.
Talk to a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free Today
SSDI should provide benefits to help you and your family. If you need help with your application, our Social Security Disability lawyers can help. At John Foy & Associates, we know what the SSA is looking for to approve a claim.
We’ll listen to your concerns and answer your questions during a FREE consultation. We do not charge you a fee unless we win you money. To get started for FREE today, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.