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How are my Monthly Payments Calculated?

If you receive Disability Insurance Benefits (called DIB, SSDI or Title 2 benefits) your monthly payments are calculated using a very complicated formula utilizing your lifetime earnings. It is not based on how severe your disability is, how much income you have, or how much income you need. The maximum benefit in 2018 is $2,788. If you receive disability benefits from a private, long-term disability insurance policy, your Social Security benefits will not be reduced but your private insurance benefits might be; every private company policy is different. If you receive worker’s compensation (WC) benefits, your Social Security benefits could be reduced. You cannot receive more than 80% (combined SSDI and WC benefits) of the average amount your earned before you became disabled. Disability benefits from the VA will not reduce your Social Security benefit. However, if you are receiving a VA pension, your VA pension might be reduced if you are approved for SSDI benefits. VA pensions are a needs-based program. The VA service connected disability benefit is not a needs-based program and will not be impacted by SSDI benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (called SSI or Title 16 benefits) is not calculated from how much you have earned. Supplemental Security is a needs-based program, meaning Social Security considers how much income you have, how much income your household has and if you are receiving any “in-kind” income. The maximum amount of SSI a person can receive in 2018 is $750.00 a month. However, Social Security will reduce your payment is you are receiving income from other sources. It is called “countable income.” Countable income can include earnings from a job or income your spouse makes. Additionally, Social Security will reduce SSI payment for people who are receiving free room and board (this is considered “in-kind” income) if there is no expectation that you will pay back the loan. If you can prove you intent to pay back the loan, you need to have proof of that to show Social Security.

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