What does disability pay?

How much does Social Security Disability or SSI pay?

by Tim Moore, Disability Representative in North Carolina

The answer to this question actually depends on whether or not a person will be receiving their disability benefits through either the SSD or the SSI program. Social Security administers two separate disability programs: Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security income, which is SSI. When it comes to deciding whether or not an individual is disabled and eligible to receive benefits, the process is identical for either program. In short, there is only one system of determining medical eligibility.

However, things are different when it comes to benefit amounts. SSD, or Social Security Disability has no set amount of money for someone who has been approved for disability. This is because monthly SSD benefits are determined by a person’s work history, or, rather, how much they paid into the system through their FICA taxes over the years. Some individuals may receive only a few hundred dollars per month while some will receive well over $2000 per month. The current average monthly SSD benefit has been quoted as $1234.

SSI does have a set maximum amount

SSI disability has a set maximum amount payable to a single individual and to couples and that amount changes each year. Additionally, the SSI pay amount may be affected by the disabled individual’s living arrangements. For example, if an individual is approved for SSI disability, they are expected to pay their share of the expenses for the household in which they live. If they do not, their disability benefit amount will be lowered to less than the maximum amount.

Note: Currently, the maximum amount that one individual may receive for SSI disability is $771 per month.

Ways that SSD differs from SSI

In a number of ways, Social Security Disability is very different than SSI disability. Unlike SSI, the amount that a person receives from this program is not the same as every recipient. Social Security Disability is based on an individual’s earnings record (earnings that are reported to the Internal Revenue Service yearly).

Your earnings record is used to determine your insured status (whether or not you qualify for SSD benefits in the first place). Also, the amount of money that is payable to you as a disability benefit is based on your earnings record.

Can you get SSD and SSI together?

For example, if you have worked very little or have had low earnings, your potential Social Security Disability benefit will be low. If it is very low, however, you may be eligible to receive both SSI and Social Security Disability. This is known as a concurrent claim.

On the other hand, if you have had higher earnings and consistent work activity, your monthly disability benefit pay will be higher. Additionally, if an individual is allowed for Social Security Disability there may be additional benefits payable to their dependents.