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SSDI Benefits: How Much Should I Expect?


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The first question most people ask regarding their Social Security benefits is “Am I eligible to receive them?” The second question they usually ask is “How much can I receive?” This is not a straightforward answer, but is one which can be calculated through a bit of careful research and reflection on your personal finances.

Social Security benefits are calculated based on the type of benefits you wish to receive, whether or not you have paid into Social Security for your working life, and what your current income level is. The exact formulas are complex and weigh several different values differently in order to come to a benefit number. However, there is a maximum amount to the benefits one could receive: $2,639/month for Social Security Disability and $2,687.00/month for Social Security retirement benefits for the year 2017.

Retirement & Disability Benefits

For retirement and disability benefits, the exact number takes into account the amount of time the amount of money you have earned on which you have paid Social Security taxes—known as “covered earnings.” The amount you have paid into the system averaged over the number of years in which you paid it in gives you a number known as your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). Most people don’t know this number off-hand or even have records accurate enough to determine it on their own, so you can get it from the Social Security Administration by requesting a Social Security statement from their website.

From there, a formula is applied to your AIME to calculate your “primary insurance amount” (PIA), which is the base figure the SSA uses when determining your benefit award. This formula is adjusted year by year for things such as inflation and increased cost of living. From there, your PIA is then used to determine what your monthly award should be.

There is an easier way to calculate a rough estimate, however, and it’s conveniently available online. The only thing you need is your salary information for yourself over the years you’ve worked, and you can plug in numbers to come up with a number that will likely be fairly close to your actual award. You can find that calculator online here.

Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Supplemental Security Income is calculated differently because you are not required to pay into the system in order to receive them, and the formula is not designed around your income over your working life. Instead, it’s more complex and takes into account any “countable income,” which is anything you receive during a calendar month which could be used to help pay for things like food and shelter. Any income from a small job, food stamps, gifts, or even received food or shelter all could reduce the number of benefits you receive. For the year 2017, the maximum monthly amount you can receive is $735.00, though the odds of you receiving that full amount are not very high.

When you need assistance with a Social Security issue, our Detroit Social Security Disability attorneys are here to assist you. With more than 75 years of combined experience, the team at Goodman Acker P.C. has the experience and knowledge you need on your side to help you navigate the complexities of a Social Security issue. We can help you through every step of the process, including the initial application phase, appeals, hearings, and more. We strive to help you get the benefits you need to help you live your life comfortably with your conditions.

For a free case review, call Goodman Acker P.C. at (248) 286-8100 and speak with a skilled member of our team today!