Dealing with social security disability can be confusing. When tackling the subject, many things can come to mind. You are not alone. The legal experts at Thompson & Thomas P.A. are here to give you all the information you need.
What Is Social Security Disability
Social Security disability benefits are monthly payments that help support people who become too disabled to work. There are two different programs through which the SSA pays disability benefits. Those programs are:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Although both programs use the same basic definition of “disabled,” and there’s some overlap between the programs, there are also major fundamental differences. SSI and SSDI are intended for two different groups of disabled workers; the benefits and qualifying requirements differ, and the funding sources are different.
How Much Will You Get?
If you qualify for SSDI, the amount of income you receive is determined by your work history and the wages you earned over your career. A similar approach is used to calculate Social Security retirement benefits. As with retirement benefits, the SSA calculates your average wages over your working life and plugs that number into a formula, and the result is the amount of your monthly check.
However, with retirement benefits, the SSA looks at your average wages over the 35 years when you earned the most — but you may not have a 35-year work history if you’ve become disabled. To determine how many years of wages to consider in calculating SSDI benefits, the SSA:
- Subtracts 22 from your current age. So, if you were 50, you’d subtract 50-22 = 28
- Takes one-fifth of that number and rounds down to the nearest whole number. So, you’d take 1/5 of 28 in our example, which equals 5.6 and which rounds down to 5.
- Subtracts the second number from the first. If the second number is less than two, then SSA subtracts two instead. If it’s more than five, the SSA subtracts five. In our example, the SSA would take 28-5, so it would consider 23 years of work history.
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