How Much Will Your SSDI Benefit Be?

Posted September 16, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

The amount of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits you’ll receive each month is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. Unlike Veterans Compensation, Workers Comp, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, SSDI isn’t based on how severe your disability is or how much income you have—everything depends on those lifetime earnings. Most SSDI recipients receive between $700 and $1,400 per month.

Estimating Your Social Security Disability Amount

In 2022, the average SSDI payment for an individual is $1,358, but almost two-thirds of SSDI recipients receive less than that. Only 10% of SSDI recipients receive $2,000 per month or more. Because benefit amounts depend on lifetime earnings, there is a large range in how much Social Security pays. For instance, let’s look at age 55, the most common age disabilities start. For 55-year-olds who have worked their entire lives, Social Security typically pays $1,000 to $2,700, depending on their past income. Someone who’s earning $50,000 at age 55 might receive $1,500 to $1,900 per month, depending on their past work, while someone earning $100,000 at age 55 might receive $2,400 to $2,700 a month.

Calculating Your Monthly SSDI Payment
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a complex weighted formula to calculate benefits for each person, up to 2022’s maximum benefit of $3,345. The calculation depends on: -your average income over 35 years -whether you paid self-employment taxes if you owned your own business or freelanced -whether you worked in any jobs that didn’t pay into the Social Security system (such as state or local government jobs), and -whether you took any years off work for child-rearing or long-term illness. Also, if you’re receiving disability payments from other sources, like workers’ comp or a state short-term disability program, your SSDI payment may be reduced. On the other hand, if you have a spouse, children, or both, your family’s payment will be increased. In 2022, the average family payment for a disabled worker with a spouse and child is $2,383.
Doing the math yourself is difficult, but you can find your SSDI benefit amount in your Social Security Statement. You can get your statement online by signing up for an account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

How Much Back Pay Will You Get?
The vast majority of applicants who are approved for SSDI will receive a lump sum of past due monthly payments, which many people call “back pay.” You can get back pay going back to when date you filed their disability application, and often even earlier. How much you’ll receive in Social Security disability back pay depends on your SSDI monthly amount. And how many months of back payments you get is determined by when you apply for disability and when your disability began.

By: Premier Disability Services, LLC

How Medical Treatment Impacts your Claim and How to Find Low-Cost Free Treatment Locations

Posted September 12, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

A critical aspect of a social security claim is the submission of medical records for the Social Security Administration to review. These medical records are used to support the existence of your impairments that are stopping you from working. Generally, the Social Security Administration needs all of the records that have been made from the date you alleged you became disabled up to the present, with more weight being placed on objective medical findings, such as imaging or diagnostic testing, in order to find you disabled. However, you may have issues in developing a medical record due to the cost. MRIs, X-rays, pulmonary function tests, and other diagnostic tests and tools aren’t cheap to use or perform.

While the Social Security Administration can and will require you to go to their doctors for the purpose of a consultative examination, these examinations can only take you so far, and may not adequately show how disabling your impairments really are. They only give a snapshot of your health on that specific day. The question then is, how can I find low-cost or free treatment locations, so that I can have a medical record for Social Security to review?

The US Department of Health and Human Services have a number of resources that can help you locate clinics and treatment centers in your community. Low-cost clinics can be found in your area at https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/.

Additionally, you should see if your state has low cost or free insurance options, which are generally available to low-income families or individuals and are accepted at most medical providers and hospitals. Many states have expanded the eligibility standards for Medicaid, and if you live in a state that has not, you still may qualify if your income is below the federal poverty level of $13,590 for an individual.

By: Devon Brady of Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Five Reasons Social Security Disability Hearings Are Better by Phone Than In Person

Posted August 26, 2022 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®

Social Security Disability hearings with administrative law judges (ALJs) are—no doubt—stressful events. You’re ill and you must explain to a judge why you can’t work full-time. In my thirty years in front of these judges at thousands of hearings, the gravity of these hearings has not escaped me.

When COVID hit, Social Security shifted from in-person hearings to phone hearings. Social Security still mostly holds phone hearings. This decision is wise given that disabled people can have compromised immune systems.

Social Security does allow you to postpone your disability hearing if you’d prefer to conduct it in person. Asking for an in-person hearing, however, means indefinite delay. If you want your Social Security hearing soon, a phone or video hearing is presently the only option. Most ALJs and attorneys currently work from home, doing phone hearings and some video hearings.

After doing phone hearings for over a year into the pandemic, I believe phone hearings and video hearings from home have five advantages over in-person hearings.

  1. Phone hearings require no travel. In-person hearings require travel to hearing locations, sometimes hours away. They also raise questions about getting a ride, bad travel weather, having money for gas, and finding parking. Phone hearings have none of these issues.
  2. Phone hearings are less stressful. At times, my clients have had great difficulty finding hearing sites and getting through security. After sitting in a crowded waiting room, some of my clients could not settle in and focus during their Social Security hearings. Phone hearings let you stay home without the distractions of a new location.
  3. Phone hearings require less planning. Before in-person hearings, many of my clients asked me these kinds of questions: “What do I wear?” “Do I look at the judge?” “Where am I supposed to sit?” “What if I cry?” Phone hearings reduce or eliminate many of these concerns.
  4. Phone hearings are more practical. Some of my clients have significant difficulty getting through a grocery store or up steps. For these clients, getting into a building, a waiting room, and then into a small hearing room was almost impossible. Phone hearings don’t require a certain level of mobility.
  5. Phone hearings are fairer. In my experience, ALJs are not good at deciding if my clients “look” disabled or not. ALJs would question my clients about why their canes did not appear worn or how they could sit in the hearing for an hour without getting up. Phone hearings (and at-home video hearings) allow ALJs to focus on the testimony, not appearances.

While in-person hearings are available again, they will likely remain optional. For the above reasons, I usually recommend that my clients request to appear by phone.

If you need any assistance in filing your disability claim, please contact our office today!