What determines how much you receive in SSDI benefits?

When you have a serious disability that prevents you from earning an adequate living, you may decide to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. The U.S. Social Security Administration has these benefits available for Americans with serious, long-term disabilities. If the SSA winds up approving your SSDI application, you may wonder how much you might expect to receive each month in your benefit checks.

According to AARP, there are several things that help determine how much you take home in SSDI. Ultimately, the SSA determines the amount you receive in the same manner it would Social Security retirement benefits.

How the SSA decides your primary insurance amount

The system the SSA uses to figure out how much to pay you each month is complex. However, to determine your full benefit amount, the administration first has to figure out the average amount you took home each month during your career in positions covered by Social Security. Then, it makes an adjustment to reflect historical wage growth before running this number through a predetermined formula.

How the SSA reviews your earnings history

The age you became disabled plays a role in how far back the SSA looks when reviewing your earnings history. Most of the time, the SSA considers your earnings history from the age of 22 to the age where you experienced your disability. The SSA then drops some of those years (typically between one and five of them) to come up with a final figure for your primary insurance amount.

Remember that once you reach full retirement age, you start receiving Social Security retirement, rather than disability insurance, benefits. You may not receive both simultaneously.

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