The amount of money you will get depends mainly on whether you are eligible for SSDI, SSI or both.
SSDI is the type of disability you can claim if you have worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system. However, SSDI does not look at your lifetime earnings; instead it looks at your earning record for the 10 year period prior to the date you became disabled (your onset date).[1. The applicable earnings record for younger claimants may be shorter than 10 years.]
As a general rule you need to show around $5,000 per year of earnings for 5 out of the 10 years prior to your onset date. Social Security will calculate your date last insured for SSDI benefits. In order to collect SSDI we have to prove that your disability began prior to your date last insured.
If you are insured for SSDI, your monthly benefit will be calculated based on what you have paid in. Most of the time, we see SSDI monthly benefits in the $1,500 to $2,500 range.
In addition to your monthly benefits, you may also be eligible for a lump sum payment that reflects your past due benefits. If, for example, it takes SSA two years to approve your case, then when you get approved, you will get a lump sum representing approximately 2 years of past due benefits. Because of delays in the system, many of our clients are seeing lump sum payment in the $30,000 to $50,000 range.
SSI is the type of disability you can claim if you have never worked, or if you have not worked in the recent past and thus are not insured for SSDI. The amount of your SSI benefit is set by Congress – for 2016, the maximum SSI payment you can receive is $733 per month.
Your SSI payment may also be offset if you are married and your spouse works, or if you own more than a minimum amount of assets. Every winning SSI claimant must appear at an income and assets meeting with SSI before any money is disbursed.
SSI claimants can also collect a lump sum for past due benefits, but this lump sum will generally be smaller than an SSDI lump sum. We typically see past due benefit checks in the $5,000 to $15,000 range.
Concurrent SSDI and SSI Claims
In rare circumstances a claimant may be able to collect from both SSDI and SSI. However, the amount received in a concurrent claim will generally be the higher of the two benefits. You cannot stack, or combine, SSDI and SSI.
If you have any questions about how much you can receive from SSDI and/or SSI, please reach out to our office – we’d be happy to help you.