How much money will I get from Social Security for my disability?

When I meet with potential clients, one of the questions I am often asked is – how much I am going to get from Social Security for my disability? Most clients need to know what their Social Security benefit amount will be. Here’s my lawyer answer - It depends.

How much money you get on disability will depend on a number of things.  These things include:How much money will I get from Social Security Disability?

  • Are you eligible for SSDI or SSI?
  • If SSDI, how much did you earn and pay in taxes?
  • If SSDI, do you have dependent children?
  • If SSI, do you have any other income?
  • If SSI, are you receiving room and board for free from family or friends?

How much money will I get from SSDI for my disability?

For SSDI, benefit amounts are calculated according to a formula that uses your complete earnings record. The formula allows for yearly increases in the individual benefits in order to reflect adjustments in the cost of living. The amount of your benefit will be based on your average earnings for all of the years you have been working, not just your most recent salary. 

You can see how much you are likely to receive if you are found disabled by looking on your MySSA account.  This is a good rough idea of your monthly benefit amount. However, there is a 5 month waiting period for disability benefits. Essentially SSA will not pay you for the first five months you were disabled. This account will also tell you how much your eligible dependents can receive as well.  However, if your date of disability was in the past, the account will not tell you precisely. 

SSDI can be paid for up to 12-months prior to the date of the application if you are found disabled during that time.  For example, you apply on March 1, 2017, but say you became disabled on January 1, 2012.  If SSA agrees that you became disabled on January 1, 2012, you will only be able to get benefits from March 1, 2016, to the date of the decision.  In the same way, if you applied on March 1, 2017, saying you became disabled on January 1, 2017, and SSA agreed, you would get benefits starting on June 1, 2017 (remember – SSA does not pay for the first five months of disability).  Depending upon when the judge determines that you became disabled, you may also be entitled to a lump sum back benefit payment.

How much money will I get from SSI for my disability?

For SSI, the Social Security benefit amount in 2017 for an eligible individual is $735 per month and $1,103 per month for an eligible couple. This amount is the maximum you can receive.  This amount can be reduced based on your specific circumstances.

You can only get SSI benefits from the date of the application forward.  For example, you apply on March 1, 2017, but say you became disabled on January 1, 2012.  If SSA agrees that you became disabled on January 1, 2012, you will only be able to get benefits from March 1, 2017, which is the date you applied.  There is no five-month hold back for SSI benefits.

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Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability and Personal Injury Attorney