Your Ssdi Payment Depends On Your Average Lifetime Earnings
By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney
If you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, the amount you receive each month will be based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. It is not based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have. Most SSDI recipients receive between $800 and $1,800 per month . However, if you are receiving disability payments from other sources, as discussed below, your payment may be reduced.
Which States Offer Supplementary Disability Payment Programs
The majority of all disability payment programs are administered on the federal level, but there are five states that offer state-funded disability programs in addition to SSDI and SSI. Currently, those five states are California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. They are intended to supplement, but not replace, federal disability payment programs.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security disability benefits come from payroll deductions required by the;Federal Insurance Contributions Act; to cover the cost of;Social Security benefits;such as retirement, as well as spousal and survivor benefits. Some of this;funding goes into the Disability Insurance Trust Fund; and pays for disability benefits.
According to the Social Security website, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must have worked a certain length of time;in jobs covered by Social Security. Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years, ending with the year when you became disabled. You must also have a medical condition that meets Social Securitys;definition of disability.
Social Security Disability Insurance should not be confused with Supplemental Security Income , which pays benefits to those who have financial needs regardless of their work history. Although these two names sound similar, the qualifications to get the payments and what you might receive are very different.
Myth: The Best First Step When Applying For Social Security Disability Insurance Is To Immediately Hire A Lawyer
The best first step is to talk to your doctor. “Have a candid conversation with your doctor,” Calder advises. “Does he or she think you are disabled?” That information is key.
Pay close attention to what the doctor tells you. For instance, if you’re told to try another medicine, use a wheelchair to help alleviate your MS symptoms, or get more physical therapy, your doctor may think that additional treatment will be enough to keep you on the job.
Fact: Help Is Available To Guide You In Applying For Social Security Disability Insurance
For starters, read the Social Security disability insurance booklet online.;It includes a list of all the information the agency needs to begin processing your application.
Patient advocacy groups like the National MS Society;also offer guidance, and Calder says that their guidebook is helpful for people with other health conditions, too, since many of the application steps are the same.
Another organization that offers online help for those applying for SSDI is the National Psoriasis Foundation. And the National Alliance on Mental Illness;provides guidance on applying for disability insurance if you have a mental illness.
If your application for SSDI is denied, you may want to consider hiring an attorney for your appeal. If you do decide to hire an attorney, you can find helpful information on the website of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives.
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Ive Heard That My Ssdi Payments May Be Reduced If I Receive Other Benefits How Does This Happen
If you receive other disability benefits such as Workers Compensation, your benefits may be recalculated or reduced. This may take place based on the SSDI index which is also the same index used to compute all Social Security benefits. The SSDI index looks at average wage indexes and applies them to a beneficiarys average current earnings.
Here’s How Social Security Calculates Your Ssdi Benefits
By Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author
How much your Social Security disability benefit will be is based on your covered earningsthe wages that you paid Social Security taxes onprior to becoming disabled. is the federal insurance program that provides benefits to qualified workers who can no longer work. To be eligible, you must be insured under the program and meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled. SSI payments, on the other hand, aren’t based on past earnings.)
Your SSDI benefit payment may be reduced if you get disability payments from other sources, such as workers’ comp, but regular income doesn’t affect your payment amount.
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Is Your Condition Severe
Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities, such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering for at least 12 months. If it does not, we will find that you are not disabled.
If your condition does interfere with basic work-related activities, we go to Step 3.
Expedited Ssdi Application Process
To expedite new disability claims, the following initiatives have been created:
Social Security makes allowances for people to receive benefits quickly if they suffer from medical conditions that are so obvious that they easily meet disability standards.
Compassionate Allowances quickly identify diseases and medical conditions that fall under the Blue Book of Impairments with minimal medical information. This allows Social Security to speed up the process of helping people obtain benefits in the shortest amount of time possible.
The list of Compassionate Allowances has been developed based on public hearing held by Social Security, along with input from medical and scientific experts and the National Institutes of Health.; Currently allowances include disabilities such as Alzheimers disease, cardiovascular disease, organ transplants, schizophrenia, and others.
A full list of Compassionate Allowances can be found here.
Quick Disability Determinations:;
Sophisticated computer screening is used here to identify cases that have a high probability of allowance.
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Were There To Help If Disability Strikes
provide modest coverage for severely disabled workers and their dependents, including our wounded warriors. Some wounded warriors and Veterans who have a compensation rating of 100% P&T are unaware that Social Security may expedite the processing of their disability claims. In addition, Veterans may not realize they can sometimes qualify for both VA and Social Security benefits. Approximately 621,000 military Veterans received disability insurance benefits in 2016. Rest assured that if the unexpected happens, weve got you covered.
Learn more on our .
Disability Application Starter Kit
To assist you in creating your application, Social Security has developed a Disability Starter Kit that provides information about the documents and information that you will be requested to provide.; Because an application can be complicated and lengthy, this is a good place to start and to keep you organized. The kit also explains how Social Securitys disability programs work and what decision-making processes are used to determine your eligibility.
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Social Security Disability Thresholds
Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children: $2,195
All Disabled Workers: $1,261
Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children: $2,224
All Disabled Workers: $1,277
How can you increase your social security disability benefits or how can you receive the maximum social security disability benefits?
Unfortunately, since the formula is largely based on your work history, there are not many ways to increase the amount you can receive for social security disability payments or benefits.
However, it is crucial to take immediate steps as soon as you become disabled and are no longer able to work. Your condition must last for at least a year, is expected to last for at least a year, or will end in death. You can ask an SSDI lawyer or representative for assistance or receive a free evaluation to determine the amount you may be eligible for. Further, you can ask your doctor to help you fill out some of the forms required to prove your disability. You must be specific when filling out this information, reporting your diagnosis, and how the disability affects your everyday life and inability to work.
In addition to social security disability benefit payments, you can also receive other forms of disability benefits, such as SSI, food stamps, affordable housing programs, or other forms of assistance.
The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool is also a great resource that you can use to find the right social security benefits for you.
Reducing Your Payment By Other Disability Payments
If you receive disability benefits from private a long-term disability insurance policy, these benefits will not affect your SSDI benefits. However, if you receive government-regulated disability benefits, such as workers’ comp benefits or temporary state disability benefits, they can affect your SSDI benefits in the following way: You cannot receive more than 80% of the average amount you earned before you became disabled in SSDI and other disability benefits. If you do, your SSDI or other benefits will be reduced. However, SSI and VA benefits will not reduce your SSDI benefit.
What Happens If The Adult Child Gets Married
If he or she receives benefits as a disabled “adult child,” the benefits generally end if he or she gets married. However, some marriages are considered protected.
The rules vary depending on the situation. Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to find out if the benefits can continue.
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
The Facts On Social Security Disability Insurance And Supplemental Security Income For Workers With Disabilities
Endnotes and citations are available in the PDF and Scribd versions.
Nearly one out of every six working-age Americans29.5 million peoplehas a disability, making them much more likely to experience economic hardship than people without disabilities. Many people with disabilities are able to work, although they face greater challenges finding work than people without disabilities. But many individuals with severe and long-lasting disabilities have no or only limited capacity to work and are particularly vulnerable to economic hardship.
For roughly 12 million people with disabilities, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, both core components of our nations Social Security system, provide critical lifelines. The modest but vital assistance that Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security provide makes it possible for individuals with severe disabilities and health conditions to live independently, keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and pay for needed, often life-sustaining medications and other basic expenses.
This issue brief answers some of the common questions about Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security. Our focus in this brief is on nonelderly adults with severe disabilities. It is important to note, however, that Supplemental Security also provides vital support to some 1.2 million children with severe disabilities, as well as more than 2 million low-income seniors.
Updated By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney
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What We Mean By Disability
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if all of the following are true:
- You cannot do work that you did before because of your medical condition.
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings, and investments.
Disabled Folks Over 65 Can Collect Social Security Disability Benefits Rather Than Retirement
By Lorraine Netter, Contributing Author
Some individuals who are over the age of 65 may not have the desire or financial ability to retire, but become disabled and are unable to continue working. Individuals who dont wish to start collecting Social Security retirement benefits may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits if they can prove a disability keeps them from working. See our article on collecting disability and retirement for why collecting disability can be better than starting to collect retirement.
Social Security adds a few distinctions to the rules for those who are over 65 when applying for benefits. In general, these rules help those over 65 in the evaluation process.
The rules that apply to those over 65 can be divided by the method of qualifying for disability benefits. Individuals over 65 can qualify for benefits in two ways.
- Meeting or equaling a listing. Social Securitys Blue Book lists impairments that will automatically be considered disabling for those who meet all of the requirements in the listing. Listings can be equaled if you have an impairment that is very similar to, but not exactly the same as, a listing in the Blue Book.
- Medical-vocational allowances. Social Security will look at your limitations, age, education level and work history in deciding whether you can do other work. If not, you can be approved through a medical-vocational allowance.
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Rules For Winning Ssdi Benefits For Blind
Legally blind people are unable to see but not necessarily be totally blind. The federal government uses the term ‘legal blindness’ to determine whether you can get certain benefits, like disability or job training.
How Does the SSA Define Blindness?
A 20/20 vision is considered as perfectly normal, i.e., if a person is able to see 20 feet away they are 0% blind. Whereas medically, the SSA defines legal blindness as a general blindness which is not essentially fully blind.
Blindness, in social security terms, is a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with best correction, or a limitation in the field of vision in the better eye so that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle of 20 degrees or less.
Rules for Winning SSDI Benefits for Blind
The Social Security Administration offers employment support for disabled who want to return to work without losing their benefits. This is why the Congress included special language in the law specifically to make it easier for persons.
Documented Proofs Required to Establish Statutory Blindness
**Remember, you need to have met one or both of these tests and prove that your legal blindness is expected to last for atleast 12 months or 1 full year.
Exception for Work Credits Needed for Blind
Dependent’s Benefits: If you don’t have enough credits to get Social Security disability benefits, you are still eligible to earn disability benefits based on your parent’s or spouse’s Social Security record.
Taxation Of Social Security Disability Backpay
Large lump-sum payments of back payments of SSDI can bump your income up for the year in which you receive them, which can cause you to pay a bigger chunk of your backpay in taxes than you should have to. To avoid losing part of your backpay this way, you are allowed to apply the SSDI benefits owed from a prior year to prior tax returns, lowering your income for the year you receive the lump sum. For example, if you were entitled to disability benefits for 22 months before you received your back pay, you could amend your tax returns for two prior years to claim some of the income in those years instead of the current year. You should ask a lawyer or CPA for help on this. For more information, read our article on how Social Security disability backpay is taxed.
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How Are My Benefits Calculated
The SSA uses your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings and Primary Insurance Amount to calculate your benefits. The formula Social Security uses is quite complicated, and most people won’t be interested in trying to calculate their benefits on their own, especially because Social Security can give you an estimate.
To give you an idea of what you might receive, for 2021, the average SSDI benefit amount is $1,277 per month, but those whose income was fairly high in recent years can receive up to $3,148.
If you’re interested in how Social Security calculates your AIME and PIA, here’s how.
Average SSDI Benefit in 2021 Monthly Social Security disability benefits range from $100 to $3,148.
Myth: If My Doctor Says I’m Disabled That Guarantees I Will Qualify
Not true, according to Proudian. The SSDI decision is a legal one, not a medical one a key point that people often misunderstand, she says. But the doctor who treats you and provides details about your condition must be a credible medical professional, and must provide honest, detailed information. Once that information and other details are filed, the decision is up to the Social Security Administration, she says.
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Fact: Ssdi Is Designed To Be A Long
You can apply only if the disability is expected to be long-term 12 months or longer or if the condition is so severe that it’s viewed as terminal. The program is meant for those with ”the most severe impairments in the country,” Jarrett says.
Other private programs pay out for short-term or partial disability, but Social Security disability insurance does not. Yet some states may award temporary funds to people who can’t work because of illness not caused by work. You can contact your state’s Department of Labor to see if you quality for temporary disability benefits.