How Do I Find My Estimated Social Security Disability Benefits?

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    How Do I Find My Estimated Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a critical safety net for individuals who are unable to work due to disabilities. Understanding the estimated amount of monthly benefits you may be eligible for is essential for financial planning and peace of mind. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to find your estimated Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SSI program uses an entirely different formula to determine benefit amounts and we’ll cover that program in another blog post.

    Liner Legal Disability Lawyers in Ohio has been helping disabled Americans the disability benefits they entitled to from several federal government programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and others. We have helped win approval for thousands of disability claimants and we can help you too. Wherever you are located within the U.S., either near one of our 8 Ohio locations or in another state, we are the professional disability law attorneys you need.

    First, Determine Your Eligibility for SSDI Benefits

    Before you can estimate your Social Security Disability benefits, you must determine whether you’re eligible for SSDI. To qualify, your impairment must meet the following definition used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine the term disability:

    A qualifying disability is a physical or mental impairment that last or is expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death) and prevents the person from engaging in substantial gainful activities (SBAs).

    What are substantial gainful activities? The SSA uses the term substantial gainful activities, or SGAs, to mean any activity by which a person can earn at least $1,420 per month, in 2023. The 2024 SGA threshold is $1,550 per month.

    For blind SSD claimants, the threshold is higher, permitting them to earn a more monthly income while remaining eligible for SSD benefits. The 2023 SGA amount for blind claimants is $2,469 ($2,590 in 2024).

    Have You Earned Enough Work Credits?

    Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are reserved for longtime workers and former workers who have become disabled. An SSD claimant must earn enough “work credits” before they become eligible for SSD benefits. Generally, an SSD claimant must earn 40 work credits. In 2023, one credit is earned for each fiscal quarter in which a worker earns $1,640, for a maximum of four credits per year. If a worker earns $6,560 in a year, regardless of which quarter the money was earned, they will receive 4 credits.

    How to Calculate Your Monthly Social Security Disability Benefit

    The calculation of your SSD benefit is based on your lifetime earnings covered by Social Security. The process used to determine the amount each person receives from SSDI is applied uniformly across the board to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Here’s how it works:

    1). Determination of Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME):

    The first step is to determine your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). AIME is calculated based on your highest-earning 35 years of work, adjusted for inflation. If you haven’t worked for 35 years, zeros are included in the calculation for the missing years.

    The SSA looks back over your work history and takes your 35 highest earning year’s reported taxable income. Those 35 years are “indexed” which is a procedure by which each year’s income is adjusted for inflation. Then the resulting figures are added together and divided by 35, producing your average yearly income. The final step in this phase of the process is to divide that figure by 12 which results in the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME.

    2). Application of Bend Points:

    Social Security uses a formula with specific “bend points” to calculate your primary insurance amount (PIA), which is the base amount of your SSD benefit. These bend points are updated each year. The formula is as follows for 2024:

    1. 90% of the first $1,174 of your AIME, plus
    2. 32% of your AIME over $1,174 and up to $7,078, plus
    3. 15% of your AIME over $7,078.
    4. Round down the final number to the nearest $0.10.

    3). Calculation of PIA:

    The SSA adds up the amounts calculated using the formula above to determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).

    This is precisely the same formula the SSA uses to calculate each worker’s Social Security Retirement benefit if they file for retirement at their full retirement age (FRA). Your Social Security Disability Insurance benefit is the same amount you would receive monthly at full retirement. If you have questions about how your Social Security Disability benefits are determined, or how they will change over time with cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), please contact Liner Legal Disability Lawyers today.