Social Security Disability applicants frequently want to know how much they will be paid when they win their case. The amount of money received through the Social Security Disability Insurance program depends on how much you have paid into the Social Security Trust Fund. Your annual statements from Social Security Administration will typically state what your estimated payments will be, though these calculations are also available upon request. Payment under Title II, called primary insurance amount (PIA), is based on your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). AIME is calculated by adding your highest 35 years of earnings, divided by the number of months (420) in 35 years. This figure is plugged into a formula which includes an upper bend point and a lower bend point, as well as a percentage of your AIME in excess of the upper bend point (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/bendpoints.html). So, the more you put into the system over the years, the more you can collect.
Some private insurance companies also offer disability insurance policies which may pay benefits if you are no longer able to work. Even if you have a private disability insurance policy, it may still be beneficial to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. You should review your plan carefully, as many private disability plans will offset or reduce their payments if you are awarded Social Security Disability benefits. However, in some cases Social Security Disability payments may be higher, or last longer. Being found disabled will also freeze your earnings record, so that if you eventually do return to work, your AIME would not penalized for the disabled years with little to no earnings. This could result in a higher PIA in the long run.