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How Much Money Will Your Monthly Disability Payment Be When You Win Benefits?

The Social Security Disability benefit amount is different for every applicant because SSD benefits are based upon the amount you have worked during your lifetime. Since everyone has a different earnings record, everyone’s monthly disability payment is also different. If you have earned very little during your working years, you will receive a lower benefit amount. Conversely, if you have been a high earner, you will receive more money per month. In 2017, the average SSD benefit amount is $1,171 per month. For those who have been high earners, it is possible for them to receive up to $2,687 in monthly benefits.

In order to calculate your monthly disability benefit, the Social Security Administration uses your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME. The AIME is calculated by using your highest indexed earnings during 35 working years, adding them together and then dividing them by the total number of months for those years. This average is rounded down to determine your AIME.

If you want to see an example of how the SSA calculates an AIME go to the SSA website.

The SSA uses the AIME to determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), which is the base amount of your benefits, and typically, the amount of your monthly benefit. Three fixed percentages of your AIME are used to determine your PIA. The dollar amounts that result from the calculation are called “bend points.” Bend points are changed on a yearly basis to reflect the national average wage index. The PIA for a disabled individual who became eligible for SSD in 2017 is the sum  of the following:

  1. 90% of the first $885 of average indexed monthly earnings
  2. 32% of the average indexed monthly earnings over $885 through $5,336, and
  3. 15% of the average indexed monthly earnings over $5,336.

If this sounds complicated, that is because it is. If you are confused by this math and would like an easier way to figure out your monthly disability benefit amount, then go to www.ssa.gov/mystatement, make a secure login, and check your benefit statement. It will tell you exactly how much money you will be entitled to if you receive disability benefits in 2017.

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