How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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 “residual functional capacity”. 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 individual’s 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 individual’s condition never determines the amount an individual receives for their monthly disability benefit. What determines an individual’s monthly disability benefit amount is the disability program they are receiving their benefits from. An individual’s earnings determine their Social Security Disability benefit amount, whereas an individual’s SSI disability benefit amount is determined by the Social Security Administration each year.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

What to say at a disability hearing
How do you get the most in Social Security Disability SSI back pay?
What are wait times for Social Security Disability Hearings?
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
If you apply for disability in Nevada
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Nevada

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.