Monthly Income on SSDI

Monthly Income on SSDI

Monthly Income on SSDI

Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) can be a lifeline for workers who are no longer able to earn a living due to disability. If you’re in the process of applying for or appealing denial of SSDI benefits, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to receive if and when your application is approved. 

The answer comes in two parts: how much monthly income you will receive from SSDI, and how much money the Social Security Administration (SSA) will owe you by the time your benefits are approved. Back benefits or retroactive benefits depend in part on your monthly benefit, so we’ll start there. 

Calculating Monthly Social Security Disability Benefits

The amount of your monthly Social Security disability benefit will be equal to what you would receive at full retirement age. But, that amount depends on your work history. More specifically, your monthly benefit is based on your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) for your 35 highest-earning years. “Indexed” means the earnings have had a multiplier applied to translate them into equivalent earnings in the present year. For example, someone who earned $15,000 in 1985 would be credited with indexed earnings of $54,012. Without this adjustment, people with a long work history would be penalized by lower-dollar early earnings.

Note that your full monthly income isn’t necessarily included in this calculation–only wages up to the maximum taxable income limit for Social Security are counted. 

Once SSA has determined your AIME, a staged formula is applied. In 2023, your monthly benefit amount will be: 

  • 90% of AIME up to $1,115, plus
  • 32% of AIME over $1,115 but not more than $6,721, plus
  • 15% of AIME over $6,721 

For example, if your AIME is $4,000/month, your benefit amount would be: 

$1,115 x .90 = 1003.50, plus

$4,000 – $1,115 = $2,885 x .32 = $923.20

For a total of $1,926.70

Social Security benefits, including SSDI, are rounded down to the nearest dollar. So, your monthly benefit in 2023 would be $1,926. Benefits are subject to an annual cost of living adjustment.

There’s a lot of math involved. Fortunately, the SSA provides online benefits calculators to give you an idea of what you can expect in monthly benefits.

Lump Sum SSDI Payments

Often, it takes several months to two years or more to get approved for Social Security disability benefits. But, that doesn’t mean you’re going to miss out on all those benefits. In fact, in some circumstances, you may qualify for benefits dating back to before you applied for SSDI. 

There are two different types of payments that you may receive in a lump sum shortly after your disability benefits are approved: back pay and retroactive pay. Back pay is the benefits you would have been eligible for from the time you applied. Retroactive benefits are benefits you may have been entitled to for up to a year before you filed your application. 

There are two important things to know about retroactive pay and back benefits:

  • Establishing the onset date of your disability matters, even if there was a gap between onset and application, and
  • It’s important to see through the appeals process instead of reapplying–if you start over, you won’t be eligible for benefits for any time period earlier than the date of your denial.

As you can see, there’s much to think about when applying for SSDI benefits or appealing a denial. And, innocent mistakes can cost you.

At Disability Help Group, we will work with you and provide guidance and expectations to help you through this challenging time. To learn more about how Disability Help Group can help you assemble the strongest application possible, call (800) 800-3332 or fill out the contact form on this site.

Social Security Disability Myths BUSTED

Social Security Disability Myths BUSTED

Social Security Disability Myths BUSTED

– Matt Sauerwald, Vice-President, Disability Help Group

Matt Sauerwald is one of the nation’s top Disability Advocates. Matt has spent more than a decade helping people who are unable to work due to a disability, representing thousands of clients along the way. He knows people pursuing benefits hear a lot of misinformation and conflicting advice. So, he’s sharing the facts about some of the most common SSDI myths.

Top Disability Myths (and the Reality)

  1. Nobody gets approved the first time they apply for SSDI. 

It’s true that many applications are denied in the first round–in fact, more initial applications are denied than are approved. However, each year, hundreds of thousands of SSDI applicants are approved in the first round. The important thing to keep in mind is that getting approved for SSDI isn’t like playing the lottery. Your chances of getting approved at the initial application stage depend on a few specific variables, such as the type of claim you’re making and the strength of your application. Working with an experienced advocate can help ensure that your application is as thorough and effective as possible. 

  1. You can’t get Social Security disability benefits if you’re working. 

This myth makes sense on the surface since SSDI is intended to provide income for workers who can no longer support themselves due to a disability. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have any earnings at all, either when you apply for Social Security disability benefits or while you’re receiving benefits. There are strict limits, though, so it’s important to get complete and accurate information about how earnings will impact your SSDI application and your right to continue collecting benefits. 

  1. It’s impossible to get SSDI benefits as a young adult.

There’s a kernel of truth to this myth. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has different expectations for younger workers than older ones when it comes to being able to adapt and retrain if they can no longer perform the type of work they’ve always done. However, a younger worker who has sufficient work credits and is unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) can absolutely qualify for SSDe.  At the end of 2022 there were nearly 1.2 million disabled workers under the age of 50 receiving Social Security disability benefits. More than 500,000 of those were under 40. 

  1. Getting SSDI depends on whether your condition is listed in the Blue Book. 

The Social Security Blue Book does contain an extensive listing of conditions that may qualify a person for benefits. But, simply having a listed condition isn’t enough–there are specific criteria that must be fulfilled for each. So, people whose conditions are listed in the Blue Book may not qualify. And, others may qualify with conditions that are not listed. The best way to find out whether or not you may be eligible for SSDI based on your medical condition is to speak with an experienced disability benefits advocate. 

Matt and his team are here for you. To learn more about how we can help, call 800-800-3332 or click here.

Matthew Sauerwald has been a dedicated voice for the people seeking disability benefits since 2010. He has represented thousands of claimants fighting for benefits, and currently leads Disability Help Group, one of the most successful disability advocacy organizations in the United States.

How to File a Social Security Disability Application

How to File a Social Security Disability Application

How to File a Social Security Disability Application

You have multiple options for filing an SSDI application. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recommends filing online and treats the online application as the default method. Here are a few reasons you may want to use the online application process: 

  • You can apply any time it’s convenient for you, rather than having to wait for an appointment and then apply during business hours
  • The SSA says that online applications are typically processed more quickly than other application types
  • You can stop and start the online application, meaning that the process won’t be derailed if you’re missing some information

With the average wait time for an initial determination crossing the 7-month mark in February of 2023, it makes sense to take the most efficient route possible. However, if you can’t apply online or just don’t want to, you have other options. 

Alternative Ways to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Apply at Your Local Social Security Office

You can apply for disability benefits in person. One advantage to this approach is that you’ll have an SSA staff member available to answer questions or provide other assistance. You can find your local office through the SSA’s field office locator tool. 

If you choose to apply in person, be sure to call ahead for an appointment. And, make sure you have all of the required information gathered. 

Apply by Phone

Applying by phone is similar to applying at your local office. You’ll have an SSA representative to assist you, and they’ll ask you questions to collect the information you would fill in when completing the application. The SSA offers a starter kit to help you prepare to complete your application and interview, whether you apply online, by phone, or in person. 

Need Help with Your SSDI Application? 

Most Social Security disability benefits applications are initially denied. You can improve your chances of being among those applications approved in the first round by ensuring that your application is completed properly and that you have provided adequate supporting documentation to fully establish your claim. Working with an experienced disability benefits advocate can help ensure that you put together the best application possible. 
To learn more about how Disability Help Group can help, call (800) 800-3332 right now, or fill out the contact form on this site.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision on My Social Security Disability?

How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision on My Social Security Disability?

How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision on My Social Security Disability?

If you’re unable to work, you’ll obviously want to get Social Security disability benefits as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the SSDI application and appeals processes are not quick. So, it’s important to have realistic expectations going in.  

The SSDI Application and Appeals Timeline

Initial Application

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), it typically takes three to six months to get a decision on your initial application. You may be able to speed the process up somewhat by applying online. You can also help avoid delays by making sure that your application is complete and you provide all necessary documentation. Still, you can expect to wait at least a few months to get a decision, and in some cases it may take more than six months. 

If you apply for Social Security benefits right away when you become disabled, the time that you’re waiting for a decision may substantially overlap with the mandatory waiting period to receive benefits. That means you could cut down the time between becoming disabled and receiving disability benefits if you apply promptly. 

Reconsideration of Your Social Security Disability Denial

If your initial application is denied–and most are–the next step is to request reconsideration. You have 60 days to make the request, and then can typically expect to wait several weeks for a decision. 

Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) 

If your claim is denied on reconsideration, you’ll have 60 days to request a hearing before an ALJ. Then, you’ll wait a minimum of several months for your hearing date. In March of 2023, the shortest average wait time was eight months. In some areas of the country, the average time between requesting a hearing and the hearing date was two years or more. After the hearing, you can expect to wait a few months longer for a decision. 

Appeals Council Review

If your claim for disability benefits is still denied by the ALJ, you have one last chance in the administrative process–requesting Appeals Council review. However, the Appeals Council has discretion to take up a case or not, and most requests are denied. If the Appeals Council does consider your SSDI claim, you may wait anywhere from a few months to two years or more for a ruling. 

Time for Social Security Disability Approval

As you can see, the amount of time it takes to receive a final decision on your social security disability from the SSA varies significantly. The most significant factor is how far you have to go in the process. If you file right away and your initial application is approved, you could be receiving benefits as soon as the sixth month after you become disabled. If you have to go through the entire appeals process, you will typically be waiting for a couple of years, and perhaps four years or more. 

That means it’s critical that you submit the strongest application possible. And, if you’re denied, you’ll want to take full advantage of the opportunity to present additional information with your request for reconsideration.

Disability Help Group was founded by experienced disability experts who have been representing the disabled for over 15 years. Our team understands how to work with the Social Security Administration in the best interest of the disabled person.

Disability claims often require time and patience from the claimant, which can be tough to deal with when a person’s finances are in question. We have representatives across the country to ensure that your rights are being protected and the disability process is being properly followed. To learn more, call (800) 800-3332 right now, or contact us here.

Top 5 Mistakes When Appealing Your Denied Disability Claim

Top 5 Mistakes When Appealing Your Denied Disability Claim


–   Matt Sauerwald, Vice-President, Disability Help Group

Matt Sauerwald is one of the top SSDI Advocates in the United States. With an abundance of knowledge and expertise in Disability law, Matt has dedicated his profession to helping those who are unable to work due to a disability and has successfully represented thousands of clients in their claims for disability benefits.  

Below, Matt shares with you his top five mistakes that are made when appealing your denied disability claim. 


The biggest mistake an applicant can make is not appealing their denial.  Despite being unable to work on a regular and consistent basis, despite having serious medical conditions, and despite the fact the vast majority of individuals who get approved for Social Security disability do so after appearing in front of a judge, many disability applicants do not appeal initial denials.   


Delays in appealing a Social Security denial also are a big mistake.  Social Security does not do anything fast.  There are millions of applicants each year.  Filing an appeal as on as is practical is the best practice. 


There are many reasons to work with a disability advocate from the jump when filing an application.  These benefits, notwithstanding, many individuals elect to file the application on their own.  However, once you are denied Social Security at the initial determination level, common sense dictates to get help from an expert!  As the old saying goes, an individual who represents themselves in a legal proceeding, may have a fool for a client.  Social Security has complicated rules and regulations.  Don’t fight this fight alone because you might not know what you don’t know. 


Almost every type of medical can denial can be appealed, even if you have been denied by a judge.  Even if you have exhausted your medical appeals, many times there are still options to keep the claim going such as filing a new application or a motion to reopen a prior adjudication.   


The final mistake people make when getting denied is thinking they don’t have a good case or that they don’t qualify.  If Social Security approved everyone they were supposed to approve at the outset of the case, there would not be tens of thousands of hearings occurring every year.  If you have serious medical conditions and cannot work because of those conditions, don’t give up! 

If your claim has been denied or you are currently working through the appeals process and need help, don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Sauerwald and the team at Disability Help Group at 800-800-3332 now to see how we can help get your claim approved. 

Since 2010 Matthew Sauerwald has been a leading voice for the disabled community in seeking compensation from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Mr. Sauerwald has led one of the nations most successful advocacy organizations Disability Help Group since 2015 and has litigated thousands of Social Security disability hearings resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars of disability awards.  Learn more about Matt here.

Know Your SSDI Benefits

Know Your SSDI Benefits

Know Your SSDI Benefits

Most people know that Social Security provides disability benefits for U.S. workers who become disabled before retirement age. But, many people have questions about the details, such as: 

  • Who can get Social Security disability benefits? 
  • How is the amount determined? 
  • Do SSDI recipients get any other benefits? 
  • Can you lose SSDI benefits? 

Here’s a quick overview of the key information. 

Eligibility for Social Security Disability

There are two parts to qualifying for SSDI:

  • The applicant must have sufficient work credits to qualify (there is an exception for those who become disabled as children, who may qualify based on a parent’s work record)
  • The applicant must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medical condition that will last at least a year or be terminal

How are Social Security Disability Benefits Calculated? 

Social Security benefits are based on your average earnings across your working life. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides calculators to help you determine how much you may qualify for in various types of benefits. However, you should be aware that certain other types of benefits, such as workers’ compensation benefits, may impact your Social Security Disability.

In 2023, the maximum possible SSDI benefit is $3,627/month. But, the average monthly benefit is less than half of that.

What Other Benefits are Associated with SSDI? 

Dependent Benefits 

Depending on your family circumstances, your dependents may be entitled to Social Security benefits if you are receiving SSDI. Generally, your spouse must be 62 or older or caring for your child who is under the age of 16 or disabled. These benefits may even be extended to a former spouse if you were married for at least 10 years, they are currently unmarried and they are 62 or older. 

Your children may also be entitled to benefits if they are under 18, or are under 20 and still in high school. Under limited circumstances, grandchildren who are living with you may also be eligible for benefits. 

Medical Benefits

After two years of receiving Social Security disability benefits, you will automatically become eligible for Medicare, regardless of your age. 

How Long Do You Receive Disability Benefits? 

For most people, SSDI benefits continue until the recipient reaches full retirement age. At that point, they are automatically transitioned to Social Security retirement benefits. However, Social Security disability benefits continue only as long as the disabling condition persists. For example, someone who received SSDI due to disabling cancer, but was successfully treated and recovered, would no longer be eligible after recovery.

Some recipients also voluntarily transition off of disability benefits through the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program. 

Get the Help You Need With SSDI

Of course, the most important thing about Social Security disability benefits is securing them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Many people wait to seek help until after they’ve been denied, but working with an experienced disability benefits advocate from the beginning can help ensure you submit the strongest application possible. To learn more about how Disability Help Group can help, contact us here or call (800) 800-3332 right now.