Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

How does the SSA calculate Social Security disability benefits?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2021 | SSD - Social Security Disability Process And Benefits |

One of the biggest concerns that many individuals have when it comes to disability benefits is how much they will receive. In fact, this concern may follow closely behind wondering whether a person will qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits. Because each case is different, the amount that a person receives will depend on the calculation factors that the Social Security Administration uses for individual circumstances.

First, the SSA assesses a person’s covered earnings, or the amount the person paid in Social Security taxes, and uses a formula to determine the individual’s primary insurance amount. The differences come in when the SSA uses each individual’s income to determine PIA. For example, if a person has reached retirement age before applying for SSDI, the SSA will use the 35 highest-earning years of a person’s work history to determine the average monthly income earned and their PIA.

Of course, many individuals hope to receive SSDI before their retirement years because of medical conditions that prevent them from working. In such cases, the following details are typically used in calculation:

  • The number of years worked since age 22 and until the age of disability
  • The deduction of one to five years depending on the number of years worked
  • The remaining number of years to determine highest-earning years
  • Those highest-earning years to calculate PIA

If these calculations and stipulations seem confusing, that is understandable. Unfortunately, applying for and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is a complex process. Luckily, if individuals believe that they qualify for such benefits and want to gain more information about what the specific factors involved in their cases could mean, discussing the matter with experienced SSDI attorneys may be useful.


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