If you are disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for certain forms of disability income, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Unlike many other forms of disability income such as Supplemental Security Income, your monthly SSDI is based on your average income before you sustained your disability, rather than the extent or type of your disability. Here, we’ll discuss how the Social Security Administration calculates your SSDI payment, as well as how an Social Security disability lawyer can help you understand what disability benefits you’re entitled to.
How to Calculate Your SSDI Payment
In order to be eligible to receive SSDI benefits, your wages must be covered under the Social Security program. Known as “covered earnings,” these are wages you’ve earned from employers that pay into the Social Security system. The majority of wages are covered earnings, but you may want to double check that your paycheck verifies that part of your income has been withheld for “FICA” or “Social Security taxes.”
The amount you receive each month in SSDI benefits is based on the average income of your covered earnings prior to your disability. This average is known as the average indexed monthly earnings (AIME).
Social Security applies a formula to your AIME in order to calculate the amount of your primary insurance (PIA). This amount, the PIA, is the basic value that Social Security uses to determine the amount of benefits you will receive. Making too much income or having too many assets will not cause you to be denied SSDI, nor will the severity of your disability affect the amount of your SSDI payment.
What if You’re Already Receiving Disability Payments?
If you are already receiving disability payments from a public resource, this may affect the amount of your SSDI payment. Disability payments such as workers’ compensation, military disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits and local or state government retirement benefits are all forms of public disability payments that may affect your SSDI payment. Disability payments from private insurers or pensions, however, do not affect your SSDI payment.
The total amount of disability benefits you receive from public sources cannot exceed 80% of your average income prior to your disability. Exceptions to this are benefits from the Veterans Administration or SSI, which are not factored into the 80%. Otherwise, the amount that exceeds 80% of your prior average wages is deducted from your SSDI payment.
Contact an SSDI Lawyer
Finagling the complexities of the Social Security system alone is difficult enough, and it can be made even more confusing when you are dealing with multiple sources of disability benefits. Depending on the state you live in, you may be entitled to receiving disability benefits from multiple entities.
For those of you in living in Tennessee, the legal experts at McMahan Law Firm of Chattanooga are here to assist you. Our lawyers understand the Social Security system and the legal details surrounding disability benefits, so contact an SSDI lawyer today if you have any questions regarding your disability benefits.