How Does Social Security Determine the Amount of Social Security Disability Payments?


Quick Answer

Social Security determines the amount of a person's disability payments based on his lifetime earnings that were covered by Social Security. Other payments the applicant receives, such as workers' compensation, may come into play when determining the payment amount. Higher earners who contributed more in FICA taxes receive higher payments.

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Full Answer

After an applicant has applied and been approved for disability, he starts receiving the payment six months after the date that Social Security determines his disability began. Social Security benefits are paid the month following the month the payment was due. This means if a payment was due in April, the benefit is paid in May, and so forth. Most disability payments average between $1,000 and $2,000, as of 2015.

Benefit amounts may be reduced by other benefits the applicant is receiving, such as public disability benefits and other wages that were not eligible for Social Security benefits, such as foreign wages. Applicants can utilize the benefits calculator on the Social Security Disability website or request a copy of their Social Security statements.

After an individual has collected disability benefits for 24 months, he then becomes eligible for Medicare, regardless of his age. If the applicant's income is low, he may also qualify for Medicaid.

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