SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
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: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page