SSDI is a disability benefit program for people who become permanently disabled after establishing a long work history. SSDI is funded by Social Security taxes, which in most cases are directly deducted from a person’s paycheck.

This means that SSDI is a type of insurance, rather than a need-based program like Supplemental Security Income. While Supplemental Security Income is calculated based on other sources of income for assets, SSDI is determined by your earnings.

How the SSA determines your benefit amounts

Currently, SSDI payments average at around $1200, with a maximum of $2861. Some people may receive much smaller payouts than the average, and may receive SSI in order to meet the federal minimum.

Once you become eligible for SSDI, you will receive a monthly amount based on your average lifetime earnings prior to the onset of disability. SSDI amounts are not determined by the level of disability or by the amount of need, although your payment may be reduced if you receive other disability payments.

You may also not receive the full amount that you expect if some of your earnings are not “covered earnings.” Covered earnings are those that have Social Security taxes withheld from them. Most wages count as covered earnings, but you may want to re-examine your work history if a lot of your income hasn’t come from working.

You should also be aware that your benefit amount has certain other standard limitations. If you receive both SSI and SSDI, or SSDI and another publicly funded disability benefit, the combined total cannot exceed 80% of your average earnings prior to the onset of disability. This is just one of many reasons why a strong work history is an advantage when receiving disability benefits.

If you’re facing the prospect of long-term disability, you probably have questions about what your income might look like if you have to stop working. Contact our office for a free consultation, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know. We can also help you if your claim is rejected, or if you’re already appealing a rejection. Call, email, or text us today!