How is my Monthly Benefit Calculated?Posted December 22, 2017 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®
Last week, we wrote about the Social Security Administration’s 2018 cost-of-living adjustments, which begs the question – how much will I be paid? Once you are found disabled, your monthly benefit amount is calculated in accordance with your claim type:
- For disability insurance benefits (SSDI), the amount depends on how much you have worked and earned, and thus paid in FICA taxes, in the past;
- For disabled widow’s and widower’s benefits, the amount depends upon how much your deceased husband or wife worked and earned;
- For disabled adult child benefits, the amount depends upon how much the parent worked and earned.
In general, all Social Security Disability benefits are very modest. The average SSDI benefit for a disabled worker in 2018 will be about $1,197 per month. For a family, the average benefit will be approximately $2,051 per month. Family members are eligible for an additional benefit, up to 50% of the disabled worker’s benefit.
Once the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that a worker has sufficient credits to permit entitlement, SSA calculates the “Primary Insurance Amount” based on wages or self-employment income on which taxes were paid. There are many different calculations, and the appropriate one is chosen based on the worker’s date of birth, and either the date the disability began, or the date the worker died or became entitled to a retirement benefit. The benefit calculation is very complex, and it is performed by SSA’s computer system when an individual applies for benefits. Re-computations occur automatically when an individual has additional earnings that positively affect the potential benefit.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program uses different rules entirely. SSI is an income-based program designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little or no income and do not have a strong working history to qualify for SSDI benefits. Because of this, any other income a SSI recipient receives will generally reduce his or her monthly SSI benefit amount.
In 2018, the Federal maximum for monthly SSI benefits will be $750 for an eligible individual. But, since a recipient’s monthly benefit amount is reduced by subtracting countable income, the average SSI monthly benefit may be less. Some States and local areas also supplement SSI benefits, meaning the State pays additional money to increase the recipient’s monthly Federal SSI payment to bring the payments up to a minimum cost of living.
If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®