How much are Social Security disability payments?

How much are Social Security disability payments?

Social Security disability payments are not standard across the board. Social Security disability pays different individuals different amounts depending on a number of factors, like the type of benefits the individual is receiving. Social Security pays Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to disabled individuals with sufficient work credits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to low-income individuals.

How does Social Security calculate SSDI benefits?

The SSA will calculate your SSDI benefits based on the income on which you have paid taxes under the Social Security program. The average of your covered earnings is the average indexed monthly earnings, or AIME. The SSA then calculates your primary insurance amount (PIA) based on your AIME.

The formula to determine your PIA is the sum of three quantities listed below (as of 2014). 

  • 90 percent of the first $816 of your AIME
  • 32 percent of your AIME over $816 and up to $4,917
  • 15 percent of your AIME over $4,917


In 2014, the average payment under the Social Security disability program was $1,140. The maximum was $2,642. Typically, recipients may receive between $300 and $2,200 in disability payments. You will continue to receive disability benefits as long as you’re disabled and unable to work.

However, you cannot receive more than 80 percent of the average wages you received prior to disability. Any government benefits you receive can reduce your SSDI payments.

If you qualify for Social Security disability payments through SSDI, both you and family members are likely eligible for benefits. For instance, your spouse or child is also likely eligible for monthly benefits, and the amount is approximately 50 percent of your monthly benefit. However, the total amount that is payable to your family members is restricted to between 150 and 180 percent of your benefits.

How does Social Security calculate SSI benefits? 

Meanwhile, those with low income and assets may qualify for SSI benefits. The manner in which the SSA calculates Social Security disability payments through SSI differs from how it calculates SSDI payments.

The maximum you can receive per month in 2014 is $721 for an individual and $1,082 if you have a spouse. You will receive these amounts if you qualify for SSI, but payments are reduced by any countable income you have. Countable income includes anything that’s not income, as well as certain income excluded from countable income.

Below are some exclusions permitted by the SSA. 

  • The first $65 each month of earned income plus half the remainder
  • Any impairment-related work expenses
  • Any income set aside or that you are using to achieve self-support
  • The first $30 per quarter of infrequent earned income
  • The first $20 per month of unearned income
  • Any state or local assistance
  • Rent subsidies under HUD programs
  • Value of food stamps
  • First $60 per quarter of infrequent unearned income


There may be other rules regarding countable income and exclusions that individuals can discuss with a disability lawyer to help them determine the Social Security disability payments for which they may qualify. 

Filing a Successful Social Security Disability Claim

Seek legal help when it comes to filing or appealing your disability benefits claim. Even the most seemingly minor mistakes can result in a delay or denied claim.

Discuss your claim and Social Security disability payments with a disability attorney who can file paperwork, obtain medical records and possibly even get a medical evaluation, if necessary, to build a claim for you. Speak to the “Heavy Hitter ®,” Rob Levine, about your claim. Call 1-866-LAW-SSDI to set up a consultation.

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