Q:

How do you calculate government disability benefits?

A:

Quick Answer

The official Social Security Administration site includes a calculator which estimates the approximate benefits a worker can receive from various Social Security programs, including disability and survivor benefits. The amount depends on date of birth, work history, and date of onset of disability.

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Full Answer

The Social Security Administration site has a number of in-depth calculators which require more information, such as annual income for each year, to return an estimate. The most advanced and accurate of these must be downloaded to the applicant's computer. According to its description, even its results are still estimates, and actual benefits received may vary depending on circumstances determined by the Social Security Administration.

An applicant applying for Social Security disability benefits or any other Social Security program requiring disabled status, such as Supplementary Security Income, must have a verifiable total disability, rather than partial disability. Social Security defines '"total disability'" as having one of a list of qualified conditions or having a non-listed condition that prevents an applicant from returning to his previous form of work or retraining for a new line of work for at least a year. Partial disability that does not completely preclude a return to the applicant's line of work for at least a year does not qualify the applicant for benefits under Social Security rules.

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