Social Security disability benefits average between $800 and $1,800 per month. However, you might qualify to earn more than that depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long your doctor expects you to miss work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines the amount of your payments based on how much you have earned throughout your life up until the point when you became disabled. Your SSDI monthly benefits are based on your average covered earnings, which is also called your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME).
How Does the SSA Screen Applicants?
Before learning how payments are calculated, you should understand how the SSA screens disability applicants. The SSA considers some medical conditions to be severe enough to warrant an immediate approval of applications.
However, most applicants for Social Security disability benefits require a thorough screening that answers five important questions.
Are You Currently Working?
If you are currently working and earn an average of more than $1,310 in 2021, then the SSA does not consider you to be disabled.
Is Your Condition Severe?
If the SSA decides your medical condition does not limit your work activities, then you can expect a denied disability claim
Is Your Condition Listed in the Blue Book?
The Blue Book represents the medical guide a team of examiners from the SSA uses to determine eligibility for financial assistance. Not only must your medical condition list in the Blue Book, but you also have to meet the severity of symptoms standards established by the SSA.
Can You Complete Basic Job Functions?
A Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment measures your ability to complete the basic job functions required by your current position. If you cannot complete basic job functions, the SSA refers to the results of your RFC assessment to answer the next question.
Can You Do Any Other Type of Work?
The results of your RFC assessment give the SSA insight into your potential to transition into another career. Maybe you cannot handle the physical requirements of your current job. In that case, the SSA might recommend that you work a job that does not require a lot of physical work.
How Do They Determine How Much Disability You Get?
To determine how much financial assistance you should receive because of your disability, the SSA uses the average amount of income you have earned since you started working as an adult. The SSA adjusts the average monthly income to account for inflation, otherwise known as the increase in the cost of living.
Social Security bases the amount of your retirement and disability payments on the amount of money you have contributed to Social Security taxes. The amount of money you have contributed to Social Security taxes over the period of your working years is called your AIME.
To discover how payments are calculated, visit the SSA website to check your online statement.
How is Backpay Calculated?
The answer to the question, “How much is disability” involves including backpay in the calculation of financial assistance. According to the SSA, the federal agency calculates backpay as the amount of time that has elapsed between when you filed your disability claim and the date the SSA approved your application.
How much you receive as monthly backpay for your medical condition is based on the amount of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that you receive each month. Multiply the amount of monthly SSDI payments with the number of backpay months to determine how much is your disability in backpay.
What is the Maximum Amount You Can Get from Disability?
The maximum amount that you can receive every month for your disabling medical condition is $3,011. According to the SSA, the average disability payment made per month is $1,280. To learn the answer to the question, “How much is disability for a single person,” refer to the Estimated Benefits section of your annual Social Security statement.
Whether you receive the maximum amount allowed by the SSA for financial assistance or you get something that approaches the average payment per month, you should know what your financial assistance covers. The largest expense that your disability benefits cover is medical bills. Social Security disability benefits cover the costs of diagnostic tests, treatment programs, and assistive medical devices.
You can also use your disability to recover lost wages. The SSA includes lost wages in its detailed calculation for determining monthly disability benefits. In addition to medical bills, you can put your monthly disability check towards defraying the cost of daily living expenses like groceries.
When Do Payments Begin?
Now that you know how much is disability, the next question to answer involves the start of your payments. Under federal law, you must wait five months to start receiving full Social Security disability payments.
This means you should start receiving financial assistance at the beginning of the sixth month of disability. However, the SSA makes an exception for patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). If you suffer from ALS and the SSA approved your claim for disability benefits on or after July 23, 2020, you should start receiving financial assistance right away.
When you receive the letter from the SSA explaining that the federal agency approved your claim, you should discover how much is your disability benefits and when you can expect the payments to start.
Social Security disability benefits continue to pay out as long as your medical condition continues to qualify as a disability. However, this does not mean your financial assistance continues indefinitely.
Advances and breakthroughs in medical science have changed the disability approval process. The SSA reviews your file occasionally to determine whether you still qualify for financial assistance.
You are responsible for informing the SSA about any change in your ability to work, as well as if you have returned to work and if your medical condition has improved.
Work with a Social Security Lawyer
Working with a Social Security attorney produces two benefits. First, you submit a claim that includes persuasive medical evidence of your disability. Second, a lawyer can ensure you get the maximum amount of disability benefits that you deserve. Your legal counsel also helps you answer the question, “How much is disability.”
Schedule a free case evaluation today to boost your chances of getting your claim approved and receiving what you deserve in financial assistance.