How Are SSDI Benefits Calculated?
The Social Security Administration has a system to calculate your benefits called the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) and the Primary Insurance Amount (PIS). Is it a complex formula that is difficult to use to calculate your expected benefits on your own, but the SSA can give you an estimate.
Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME)
This is a tool the SSA uses to index your lifetime earnings. During this process, they account for up to 35 years of your working years, along with the increase in general wages that happened during those years. This is to ensure that your future payments mirror this rise. The SSA will use the years you have the highest indexed earnings and calculate the average earnings, and then round down to reach your AIME.
Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)
The PIA is the base amount of benefits you will receive. Using the total of three fixed percentages from your AIME, the SSA will determine your PIA. As an example, someone who becomes eligible for SSDI benefits in 2021 may be calculated like this:
- 90% of the first $996 of AIME
- 32% of the AIME over $996 through $6,002, and
- 15% of the AIME over $6,002
Average SSDI Payment Amounts
If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, your amount is not based on how much income you have but on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. The average SSDI payment amount for 2021 is about $1,277. The highest monthly SSDI payment you can receive in 2021 at full retirement age is $3,148.
Why Is My SSDI Payment Low?
Your benefits amount may be reduced if you receive other disability payments such as a worker’s compensation settlement. Reductions like this are referred to as “offsets.” However, most other disability benefits will not affect your average SSDI payment, such as payments from private insurance or veterans benefits. If you haven’t worked many years, if you have gaps in your work history, or if you have several years with low earnings your benefit amount may be lower than average.
Get Help Applying for SSDI Benefits Today
Applying for SSDI benefits is a challenging task and is best handled with the assistance of a skilled disability attorney. The SSDI lawyers at the Law Offices of Karen Kraus Bill will ensure your records are in order so your application is as strong as it can be. We will help you avoid unnecessary delays and increase your chances of winning the benefits you need and deserve. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule a free evaluation.