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What Is My Social Security Disability Benefit Amount?
If you are disabled and applying for Social Security disability, it is only natural to want to know how much you may expect to receive in disability benefits assuming that your application is approved. An SSD lawyer from MJ Ellis Disability Law located in New Jersey has answers to this and all other questions you may have about benefits payable through the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance programs administered by the Social Security Administration.
Continue reading to gain a better understanding of the programs and benefits that can provide much-needed financial assistance when a medical condition prevents you from working. After you finish, contact the SSDI and SSI lawyers at MJ Ellis Disability Law for skilled and effective representation to file applications or appeals related to SSD benefits.
Understanding SSI benefit payments
The maximum federal benefit you may receive from SSI each month during 2022 is $841. If you are married and your spouse is eligible for SSI benefits, the combined total for both of you is $1,261 a month. You may actually receive more each month if you live in a state that supplements the federal SSI benefit.
If you receive income from sources other than SSI, these may reduce the amount of the federal benefit that you receive depending on the source. Generally, income received during a month that you can use for food or shelter is countable income that may reduce your SSI payments; but not all income is counted.
For example, the income you receive from a job is countable income, but you may exclude some of it to limit its effect on your SSD benefits. You may exclude the first $65 received as wages during the month and one-half of the balance before it counts against your SSI payments. It pays to contact MJ Ellis Disability Law about specific sources of income and let an SSI lawyer determine what effect, if any, it will have on your benefits.
What will your SSDI benefits be?
If you receive Social Security disability benefits through the SSDI program, calculating the monthly payment amount presents more of a challenge than determining benefits through the SSI program. Unlike SSI which starts with a fixed federal benefit for all beneficiaries, SSDI payments depend on the amount of covered earnings over the course of working at jobs or through self-employment.
“Covered ” earnings means the income from work that was subject to payment of Social Security taxes. If you worked “off-the-books” for yourself or for an employer and did not pay into the Social Security system through payroll or self-employment taxes, that income does not count toward determining your SSDI benefits.
Social Securing uses a formula to calculate your SSDI benefits starting with your record of lifetime covered earnings. The formula produces an AIME or average indexed monthly earnings, which is then used to determine your primary insurance amount or PIA that you receive each month.
Your SSDI benefits may be less than the PIA if you also receive disability payments from other sources. Private benefit plans, such as pensions and disability insurance policies that were purchased or had through an employer, do not affect your SSDI benefits. However, the following payments may affect your SSDI benefits:
- Workers’ compensation
- Civil service disability
- Temporary disability paid through a state agency
- State or local government retirement payments made because of a disability
The total amount that you receive each month through workers’ compensation and public disability payments combined with your SSDI cannot exceed 80% of your average earnings before the onset of your disability that qualifies you for SSD benefits. If it does, your SSDI benefit is reduced by the excess to keep the total payments to the allowable average earnings limit.
Benefits payable through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or through SSI do not count toward 80%. If you receive benefits from having worked for a state or local government and paid Social Security taxes on the earnings, the benefits will not count toward the 80%.
A lump-sum settlement paid by workers’ compensation also affects your SSD benefit, so speak with an SSDI lawyer with MJ Ellis Disability Law if you anticipate settlement or for answers to questions about other public disability payments that you receive. For instance, benefits are reduced because of other disability payments that put you over the 80% limit only apply until you reach the age for full retirement. There is no reduction once your SSDI benefits convert to Social Security retirement.
Learn more about Social Security disability benefits
When a disability prevents you from working, SSD benefits payable through the SSDI and SSI programs provide much-needed financial relief. A free consultation with an SSD lawyer at MJ Ellis Disability Law helps protect your right to benefits and ensures that you receive all of the benefits available to you. Contact us today.