Will Social Security Disability Benefits Replace My Work Income?

There are two federal disability programs—Social Security Disability Income—known as SSDI—and Supplemental Security Income—known as SSI. The intent of these programs is to provide a safety net for Americans who are unable to work due to a serious injury or illness. Whether or not disability benefits will replace the full amount of your work income depends on how much you earned prior to becoming disabled.

SSDI and SSI benefits are modest and in most cases the monthly benefit checks will not match your pre-disability income. The SSDI amount may come close if you were in a lower income tier, but if you were in a middle or high income class, SSDI benefits will likely fall significantly short of what you were earning before.

In 2020 the maximum benefits payment for SSDI is a little more than 3 thousand dollars a month, but keep in mind that is the maximum. The average monthly SSDI check is around 1,250 dollars. Your average lifetime earnings determine your SSDI payment amount, so what you may receive depends on your work history and your average lifetime income

For SSI the maximum payment amount is known as the Federal Benefit Rate and it changes each year, based on inflation and other factors. The 2020 Federal Benefit Rate for individuals who are eligible for SSI is 783 dollars a month. For married couples in which both partners receive SSI, the combined monthly maximum benefit is $1,175. However, few SSI recipients receive the maximum benefit. The Social Security Administration factors in all sources of your income and all your financial resources when setting your monthly SSI payments. Unless you are living below the federal poverty level your monthly SSI check will probably be only a few hundred dollars.

If you are disabled and considering applying for Social Security disability benefits you need to know that the path to winning benefits can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Fortunately, we are here to help. We encourage you to get started by calling our office for a free evaluation of your case.