When you are afflicted with a medical disorder and cannot work, financial benefits might be available to you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) helps those who qualify with a monthly payment. Since the application and approval process for getting benefits can be so lengthy, it might be helpful to know what to expect in terms of payment. Read on to find out more about your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) monthly benefit amount.
Your Past Earnings
Both your past salary and your medical condition are evaluated during the application process. Before you can qualify medically, however, the SSA will review your earnings record to ensure that you have earned enough to be eligible for benefits. Each time you receive a paycheck, FICA deductions are removed. This deduction funds, among other things, your Social Security account. The funds may be used for retirement or when you become disabled before you are old enough to retire. When you apply for SSDI benefits, that is not government aid – you earned your Social Security benefits when you worked. That being said, the method of determining your benefit amount is more complex than just adding up your lifetime of contributions to the SSA.
The SSA determines whether you have earned enough to be paid benefits using what they call work credits. You earn one credit for every $1,360 you make and you cannot earn more than four credits per year. The number of credits needed to qualify for SSDI is based on your age. The older you are, the more credits you need. For example, if you are age 50 when you became disabled, you need to show that you have earned at least 28 credits (or seven years of work) to be paid disability. If you have not accrued enough credits and you are determined to be medically eligible, you may qualify for the other SSA program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The SSA Statement
In the past, the SSA sent out statements to workers that provided information about earnings record. Due to privacy concerns, the only way to view this information now is by going online or visiting an SSA office in person. The website allows you to find out how much you can expect to be paid in disability payments if you should become disabled at this time. It also provides you with an estimate of retirement benefits. The information on sites such as this should provide you with a very good idea of how much to expect in terms of monthly benefits. As long as you have filed your taxes on time, the results such websites are accurate.
Getting the benefits you need is not easy, regardless of how qualified you might be. Speak to a Social Security lawyer to find out how you can appeal an adversarial ruling before it's too late.