One of the biggest questions that SSDI applicants have is “How much will I be paid in disability benefits?” The answer is specific to each applicant, but in general, SSDI will pay monthly benefits, backpay, and Medicare (provided there is not a waiting list for this healthcare service). The monthly benefit amount is calculated using a complicated matrix based upon the length of time that the applicant has paid into the Social Security system, called “covered earnings.” (It is not simply a percentage of current income or any other simple calculation, and there is a benefit limitation.) The average covered earnings over a period of years is called the average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). In general, benefits can range from $300 to $2200 per month.
Benefit payments can also be affected by other types of public disability payments. Payments from worker’s compensation or temporary state disability payments can lower the amount of SSDI received. However, SSI or VA benefits will not affect SSDI payments.
Most SSDI recipients will also receive a lump sum payment of past due benefits to cover the time between the initial application and the approval. Some applicants may also receive additional backpay from the time they actually became disabled (as much as 12 months prior to the application). These payments can be significant and amount to thousands of dollars.
Finally, Medicare is awarded to recipients two years after the time they are deemed eligible for SSDI. This is not the date of application, but rather the date of entitlement, which is the disability onset date plus 5 months.
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