Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Will The Condition You have Determine How Much You Get For Disability?

Firstly, Social Security disability is not based upon what medical or mental condition an individual has. Social Security disability is based upon ďresidual functional capacityĒ. Residual functional capacity is what an individual is able to do in spite of their impairment. Residual functional capacity is what enables an individual to work or prevents them from working.

The definition of disability for Social Security purposes is that an individual has been unable to work at a substantial work activity level--or that they expect to be unable to work at substantial work activity level--for twelve months due to a medically determinable mental or medical impairment.

So, if an individualís condition has nothing to do with the amount of their disability benefit, what determines how much they will receive for their disability benefit? It depends upon which disability program pays their disability benefit.

Social Security manages two disability programs: Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI). If an individual is entitled to Social Security disability, their disability benefit amount is determined by their earnings prior to becoming disabled. Generally, the longer an individual was able to work and the higher their earnings, then the higher their monthly disability benefit amount is.

If an individual is entitled concurrently (meaning entitled to both social security disability and SSI) or to SSI only, their benefit is based upon a monthly earnings amount set by Social Security each year (meaning that there is a fixed maximum monthly SSI benefit that applies to all SSI recipients). Regarding "concurrent benefits", there are times when individuals who are entitled to Social Security disability can receive SSI. Social Security beneficiaries are not entitled to a disability benefit until the six month following their date of onset.

Translation: when you are approved for SSD, your first five months of benefits are taken back by the federal government; as a consequence of not receiving their SSD benefits during this five month waiting period, they are able to receive SSI disability benefits for that time period as long as they meet income and resource limits for the SSI program.

There are some individuals whose monthly Social Security disability benefit is low enough to enable them to continue to receive SSI even after they begin to receive Social Security disability. Such individuals, as previously stated, are in the position of receiving "concurrent" (i.e. dual) benefits.

However, it is important to note that all concurrently entitled disability beneficiaries are bound by the maximum SSI monthly disability amount. So, if you receive both SSD and SSI monthly disability benefits, your total benefit amount can never be greater than the amount received by someone who is receiving a full SSI benefit each month.

In summary, an individualís condition never determines the amount an individual receives for their monthly disability benefit. What determines an individualís monthly disability benefit amount is the disability program they are receiving their benefits from. An individualís earnings determine their Social Security disability benefit amount, whereas an individualís SSI disability benefit amount is determined by the Social Security Administration each year.

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

Related pages:

What is considered a Disabling medical condition by Social Security?
Can you File for Disability for more than one Condition?
How Disabling Does A Condition Have To Be For Social Security Disability, SSDI Benefits?
Receiving Benefits - Your Medical Condition and Social Security Disability or SSI
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?
Receiving disability for a mental condition in North Carolina
What condition or conditions qualifies for disability in North Carolina?
Social Security Disability Approvals - Medical Conditions and Getting Approved

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria