The amount you receive in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) each month is calculated based on your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) over a specific period. This figure is used in a formula to determine your primary insurance amount (PIA), serving as the baseline for establishing your SSDI benefit.

While the maximum monthly SSDI benefit for 2024 is $3,822 (an increase from $3,627 in 2023), it’s essential to note that most individuals typically receive lower amounts based on their work history and average indexed monthly earnings.

How SSI Payments Are Calculated?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are calculated based on the individual’s countable income, living arrangements, and other factors. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers both earned and unearned income and resources. 

The SSI payment amount may be reduced or increased based on these factors to ensure individuals receive the appropriate level of financial assistance.

Cost Of Living Adjustment For SSDI And SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to address rising expenses. 

The adjustment is calculated based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For instance, in 2020, recipients saw a 1.6% increase to help keep up with the growing cost of living. (Learn more about Social Security Benefits 2023 Cola)

How Do I Receive SSDI Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are derived from your “covered earnings,” the portion of your income subject to Social Security (FICA) taxes. To qualify for SSDI, you need to have accumulated enough work credits. 

Typically, you earn one work credit for every $1,510 in earnings, with the ability to earn up to four credits annually. Most adults require at least 40 work credits, with 20 obtained 10 years before disability onset. The more you’ve contributed to Social Security, the higher your SSDI benefits will be. 

How Does The SSA Calculate Your Monthly SSDI Payment?

When applying for SSDI benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses the income you’ve contributed through Social Security taxes. The process begins with calculating your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME), representing the average income adjusted for wage growth. 

The SSA doesn’t consider every working year; instead, they count years from age 22 to the year before disability, exclude specific years, and then select the highest-earning years to determine the AIME.

Once the AIME is established, the SSA calculates the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), your full retirement benefit. The PIA serves as the baseline for determining benefits, and this intricate calculation is contingent on the age at which you become unable to work, particularly for non-retirees.

Types Of Income That Lower Your SSDI Payment

While it’s not a concern for most, certain types of income may impact your SSDI benefits. 

  • Workers’ compensation is one such example; qualifying for both SSDI and workers’ comp means your total benefits can’t exceed 80% of your previous job’s income. (Learn more about what is workers compensation law?)
  • In states with short-term disability programs like California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, receiving state benefits may reduce your SSDI payment. (Get more information on how short-term disability programs work?)
  • Contributing to a state pension rather than Social Security could also impact your SSDI eligibility. (Learn more about How Many Work Credits Do You Need For SSDI?)

Average SSDI Payments By State

State Average monthly SSDI payment
Alabama $1,454.98
Alaska $1,473.09
Arizona $1,542.92
Arkansas $1,415.43
California $1,524.99
Colorado $1,497.71
Connecticut $1,549.41
Delaware $1,599.97
District of Columbia $1,321.04
Florida $1,521.74
Georgia $1,485.38
Hawaii $1,532.11
Idaho $1,456.79
Illinois $1,495.07
Indiana $1,480.12
Iowa $1,412.23
Kansas $1,439.17
Kentucky $1,446.53
Louisiana $1,421.25
Maine $1,395.33
Maryland $1,542.21
Massachusetts $1,493.30
Michigan $1,508.94
Minnesota $1,475.73
Mississippi $1,416.49
Missouri $1,441.07
Montana $1,407.08
Nebraska $1,391.82
Nevada $1,562.44
New Hampshire $1,528.42
New Jersey $1,648.06
New Mexico $1,398.19
New York $1,540.57
North Carolina $1,483.98
North Dakota $1,388.96
Ohio $1,422.89
Oklahoma $1,423.04
Oregon $1,459.64
Pennsylvania $1,493.44
Rhode Island $1,464.35
South Carolina $1,512.46
South Dakota $1,391.16
Tennessee $1,446.63
Texas $1,463.70
Utah $1,473.63
Vermont $1,398.34
Virginia $1,497.40
Washington $1,494.32
West Virginia $1,465.15
Wisconsin $1,460.01
Wyoming $1,485.89

The Primary Insurance Amount For SSDI

The SSDI amount you receive is determined by the PIA calculation, a progressive formula inversely analogous to the tax system. The higher your earnings, the lower the benefit for the upper-income brackets. For those eligible for SSDI benefits in 2022, the PIA is calculated as follows:

  • 90% of the first $1,024 of your AIME
  • 32% of your AIME between $1,024 and $6,172
  • 15% of your AIME over $6,172

The SSA combines these percentages, rounding to the nearest lower multiple of 10 cents. 

Can I Receive SSI And SSDI if I am Extremely Poor?

If your SSDI payment calculations fall below a certain threshold, you may qualify for both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSDI simultaneously, known as a concurrent claim. 

However, the employment restrictions are stricter for SSI payments. Eligibility for this program may also extend to individuals with insufficient work credits before becoming disabled. Calculating the combined amount for both programs can be complex, and it’s advisable to consult with the SSA or an SSDI lawyer to navigate this situation and understand how future work may impact your benefits.

What Is The Fastest Way To Check Your SSDI Payment Amount?

Before diving into the numbers, there’s a straightforward method to determine your SSDI benefits without needing a calculator. Create a free mySocialSecurity account, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide an exact estimate of your monthly SSDI amount. 

Setting up the account takes about 15 minutes and involves identity verification through personal information and facial recognition; it’s a free and secure process. This account also grants access to your income history, work credits, and retirement benefits status. Any discrepancies in your record can be corrected, potentially increasing your SSDI benefit.

How Can a Disability Attorney Help Me?

A Social Security disability lawyer can significantly assist you with SSDI payments by navigating the complex application process, ensuring all necessary documentation is in order, and representing you in case of denials or appeals. Their knowledge of disability law can be invaluable in securing a favorable outcome for your SSDI disability claim.

FAQs For Social Security Disability Benefits

The highest paying state for disability benefits varies but states like Hawaii and California often have higher benefits due to their higher cost of living.
Disabilities with a higher approval rate often include musculoskeletal disorders, such as back or joint issues, and mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
The highest disability monthly payment is determined by the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, with the maximum benefit amount adjusting annually. As of 2023, the highest monthly payment is around $3,627 for SSDI; for SSI, it is $914 for individuals and $1,371 for couples.
SSDI back pay is calculated based on the date you became disabled and the date you applied for benefits. The SSA determines a "waiting period" of five months from the onset of your disability, during which benefits aren't paid. If you waited several months to apply after becoming disabled, you may receive retroactive payments for the period between your application date and your eligibility date. The exact calculation involves complex formulas, so it's advisable to consult with an SSDI attorney for precise details on your potential back pay.
Yes, in some instances. However, the SSDI payment you receive often exceeds the maximum amount for SSI eligibility, resulting in a reduced or eliminated SSI payment. In most instances, the substantial SSDI benefits render individuals ineligible for SSI assistance.
Yes, in fact, your SSDI payments will typically increase automatically each year. The Social Security Administration adjusts SSDI payments annually through a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). For example, the 2024 COLA brings a 3.2% increase to benefit checks. No action is required on your part to receive this increase, and it doesn't impact your regular SSDI payment schedule.