How much will my Social Security disability payments be?  This is a question I hear very often.  It is an important question, but not one that is easily answered until you win your claim.  There are many factors that go into calculating your disability payments from the Social Security Administration.  It is important to remember there are two distinct programs that can pay disability payments: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Disability Insurance payments are based on your average earnings over a period of years.  Your contribution to the Social Security trust comes from FICA tax withholdings taken from your earnings.  In other words, any money that you receive and do not pay taxes on is generally not providing for SSDI benefits.  Further, the severity of your disability does not impact the amount of money you will receive.  Rather, the more you pay into the system, the more your payments will be.  Periodically, the Social Security Administration will mail out benefit estimates that may give you an idea of what your monthly disability benefit could be. Your actual monthly payment amount will be determined by the SSA after winning your claim, and you should receive an award letter detailing these payments.

Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) are paid out on a financial need basis.  What this means is the Social Security Administration will determine your monthly payments by considering other monies and resources that you may have available to you.  Resources such as money you earn through working, your living arrangement, and other money you receive from additional sources are among just a few of the factors that are taken into consideration.  If you win your SSI claim, the Social Security Administration will conduct a resource interview with you to determine your monthly payments.  The Social Security Administration will ask various questions regarding your resources and may ask for supporting documentation to determine your eligibility and the amount of your payment. It is very important to not put off this interview as it can only delay your receiving your SSI payments.  For 2019, the maximum payment a claimant can receive From SSI benefits is $771, but this amount is set each year by a Cost of Living adjustment.

As you can see, there is no easy answer as to how much your Social Security disability payment may be.  I tell my clients to concentrate on a favorable outcome in your Social Security disability claim first, and then let the SSA go to work on figuring your monthly payments.  After winning a claim, our office attempts to work with clients and the SSA to help move the claim along in the payment process, if necessary.