Share This Post
What Is The Maximum Social Security Disability Benefit Amount An Insured Can Receive?
When a disability prevents you from working and earning an income, the emotional strain of unpaid bills and mounting financial pressures can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has two programs that pay monthly cash benefits to those applicants who qualify.
The money paid through either the Supplemental Security Income program or the Social Security Disability Insurance program eases the burden of being unable to earn an income through employment or self-employment. One of the topics people want to be addressed when meeting with a Social Security disability lawyer at the MJ Ellis Disability Law concerns the amount of their monthly disability benefit. Here, then, is an overview of how Social Security calculates your monthly benefits under each of the programs it administers and the maximum Social Security disability benefit available through each of them.
Social Security disability through the SSDI program
To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must be disabled. Social Security follows the Code of Federal Regulations, which defines a disability as being unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment expected to cause death or last for at least 12 consecutive months. You also must have a record of working at jobs or through self-employment and paying Social Security taxes on the income earned.
The cause of your disability and its severity are factors used by Social Security to determine eligibility for benefits through the SSDI program, but they do not affect how much you receive in monthly payments after approval of your claim for benefits. How much you receive through SSDI depends, in part, on the lifetime average earnings you had before the onset of the disability.
Keep in mind that lifetime average earnings for purposes of SSDI only includes money earned while working for someone or through self-employment on which Social Security taxes were paid. Social Security uses a complicated formula that includes indexing earnings over a period of time to account for changes in wage levels during the years that you worked to arrive at your primary insurance amount.
According to the most currently available information from the Social Security Administration, the average monthly benefit through SSDI is $1,280. The maximum monthly benefit possible in 2021 for someone reaching retirement age while collecting benefits through SSDI is $3,148.
As a general rule, other sources of income do not affect your monthly SSDI benefits. SSDI benefits may be reduced if you receive payments through worker’s compensation, public disability benefits programs, or pension payments derived through work that was not subject to Social Security taxes. Your SSDI lawyer will review your work history to make certain that you receive the correct Social Security disability benefit amount based on your earnings history and other factors that may affect it.
Social Security disability payments through SSI
If you never worked or do not have a work history of sufficient duration to satisfy the requirements to qualify for SSDI, you may qualify for disability benefits through SSI. SSI is a needs-based program, which simply means that your income and financial resources must be limited. For instance, resources, such as motor vehicles, real property, cash, and bank deposits, and other assets, cannot have a total value of over $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for couples.
Adults or children who are blind or disabled and meet the nonmedical criteria that apply to income and resources may qualify for monthly payments. The maximum amount of the payment that you receive may be affected by the state in which you live.
Some states supplement the federal Social Security disability benefit paid through SSI. The maximum federal benefit, which includes a cost-of-living allowance for 2021, is $794 and $1,191 for an eligible couple. The actual payment that you receive may be greater if you live in a state that supplements the federal payment.
Your SSI payments may be reduced from the maximum benefit by the amount of countable income you receive from other sources during the month. Countable income under the SSI program has a very broad definition that essentially includes anything that may be used to pay for food or shelter, including the value of free meals and lodging provided by friends or relatives.
The rules pertaining to countable income have exceptions and exclusions that may eliminate or diminish the effect on your monthly disability benefit. For example, the value of food that someone buys for you is countable income for that month, but the person can pay your doctor’s bill without its value affecting your benefits because it was not a payment toward food or shelter. An SSI lawyer will review your income and resources and let you know whether any of them will affect your claim for benefits or the amount that you may receive.
Get help from a Social Security disability lawyer
A client-focused, compassionate SSD lawyer from the MJ Ellis Disability Law is your best source for Social Security disability benefits information. We pride ourselves on providing practical advice and outstanding representation in all matters from initial applications to appeals.