The first hurdle for many people seeking Social Security disability benefits is simply receiving approval for their claim. But once you have that notice from the Social Security Administration letting you know that you’ll finally be getting the compensation you’ve been asking for, the question is how much.
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, payouts are based on a number of factors, but most strongly upon the number of years you worked and paid into the Social Security system (through taxes). The amount you can get each month ranges between $700 and $2,687, while the 2017 average is $1,171. To predict where you fall on this scale, start by looking at what the SSA calls your “covered earnings,” which is the total amount of income that you paid taxes on over the years.
Therefore, if you are older (and thus most likely worked for a greater number of years before you became disabled), you can expect to get a higher monthly payout than someone who only worked in the system for a few years. This also means that if you held a higher-paying job before you became disabled, you will get greater SSDI benefits than someone who worked a low-paying job and thus paid fewer taxes.
Based on several numbers, including your average monthly taxed earnings over a certain time period, a formula is applied that allows the SSA to determine how much you should receive in disability benefits.
Several factors restrict how much money you can get from SSDI. You cannot make more than 80 percent of the average amount that you earned before you applied for benefits, which means that your SSDI payouts will be capped once they hit that mark. Furthermore, government-regulated benefits — such as worker’s compensation — can also reduce your SSDI payouts, as the SSA will consider this an additional source of income that should affect how much you get in SSDI benefits. However, other forms of compensation — such as SSI and VA benefits — will not affect your SSDI payouts, as SSI is need-based and thus separate from the more general SSDI, and VA benefits are given as an entitlement to veterans.