Topic Categories:

Social Security Disability Definitions

Social Security Disability and SSI Overview

The Requirements for Disability

Social Security Disability and SSI Applications

Tips and Advice for Disability Claims

How long does Disability take?

Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial

Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

Benefits through SSI disability

Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

Eligibility for Disability Benefits

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How much does Disability Pay?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

If an individual is approved to receive disability benefits, how much they will receive in disability pay will depend on several factors. The first and primary consideration is which program the person has been approved to receive disability benefits in.

For those who are unaware, the social security administration has two separate disability programs, SSD disability (title II benefits) and SSI disability (title 16 benefits). Disability claims taken in either program are processed in exactly the same manner, meaning that the medical evaluation process is identical regardless of whether a claim is taken in the Social security disability program or the SSI disability program (the process involves obtaining the claimant's medical records and using them to determine if the individual has the capability to engage in substantial and gainful work activity.

What is very different between the two programs, however, is what a person may receive. This is due to the funding mechanisms of each program. SSD, or social security disability, is a program based on insured status and having gained work credits as a result of work activity. To be eligible for social security disability, a person must have "paid into the system" via fica taxes that are either deducted from a paycheck or paid directly by a self-employed individual.

Because social security disability is based on what a person has paid in taxes over the course of their working years, the amount that they receive on a social security retirement check or on a social security disability check will be based on this. And it is for this reason that most recipient's checks will be for different amounts. So an individual who has typically earned $30,000 per year will receive a larger benefit amount (at retirement or in the event that they become disabled) than a person who has typically earned $20,000 per year. And, of course, a person who has typically earned $40-50,000 per year will receive even more in monthly retirement or disability benefits.

SSI is quite different from SSD (see Who is eligible for SSI?). SSI is basically set up to provide retirement or disability benefits to:

A) Individuals who are not insured to receive social security disability (such as stay-at-home spouses and minor-age children),

B) Individual who were once insured for SSD but have lost their insured status because they have not worked for a long time (one example would be where an individual returned to school for a number of years),


C) Individuals who are insured to receive SSD benefits but would only receive a fairly small monthly check; in this last instance, a person might actually receive what is known as a concurrent benefit, meaning they would receive benefits in both programs.

SSI is basically a need based program and because it is the amount a person may receive is pre-defined. For 2012, the maximum amount that a person may receive for SSI disability is $698 per month. Keep in mind, however, that the SSI amount a person receives may be reduced if the individual has earned income. It may also be reduced due to family income. For instance, if a minor-age child receives SSI, the check may be reduced if one or both of the parents have income. Likewise, the SSI benefits of an adult may be reduced if he or she is married and the spouse has income.

Of additional interest: How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits?

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews