What are the Maximum Amounts for Social Security Disability Benefits?

What are the Maximum Amounts for Social Security Disability Benefits?

by Kim Pinnelli
Senior Contributing Writer

Updated September 14, 2020
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Social Security disability benefits help supplement your income should you become disabled permanently or at least for more than 12 months.

Social Security income isn’t just for retirement – it can help replace income if you become disabled too. Like SSI, though, there are maximum income limits each person may have, if the Social Security Administration finds them eligible. There’s also a maximum amount you may receive, which is based on your lifetime average earnings. You can view your average earnings by accessing your ‘my Social Security’ account on ssa.gov.

What are SSDI Benefits?

Social Security disability benefits are monthly payments those that are disabled and expect to be disabled for at least a year receive. If you are unable to work because of a medical disability, but were able to work before, you may be eligible. If so, you’ll receive a monthly payment from the Social Security Administration, much like retirees receive.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Payments?

In order to qualify for SSDI, you must meet the following:

  • You must have a medical condition that prevents you from doing any type of work for at least the next 12 months or permanently and the Social Security Administration must approve it
  • You must have worked and paid into the Social Security system
  • You must have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security insurance benefits.

The number of credits you need depends on your age:

  • Before age 24 – You must have six credits that you earned within the last three years
  • Age 24 – 31 – You may qualify if you worked at least 50% of the time between the age of 21 and your current age. For example, if you are 29, you must have worked at least 4 years (16 credits) since you were 21 years old.
  • Older than 31 – You’ll need between 20 and 40 credits depending on your age. Ages 31 – 42 need 20 credits, after age 42, the number of credits needed increase by one per year.

What are the SSDI Maximums?

In 2020, those applying for disability benefits must make less than $1,260 per month. This is up $40 from last year’s maximum of $1,220. Blind applicants may make up to $2,110 and still qualify. If you make more than these amounts, the SSA considers this substantial gainful activity and you wouldn’t qualify for benefits.

If you do qualify, you should know that the SSA also sets a ‘trial work period’ for those that may attempt work after collecting disability payments. The SSA allows you to try to work without risking your disability benefits. In 2020, any month that you make more than $910 per month counts as a ‘trial month.’ Once you have 9 months of successful trial months in a rolling 60-month period, your disability payments may end.

Where CanYou Get Social Security Disability Payments?

You have several options when applying for Social Security disability payments:

  • Apply online at ssa.gov
  • Apply over the phone at 1-800-772-1213
  • Apply in person at a Social Security office

If you become disabled, apply for your disability benefits right away. There is a five-month waiting period, which means you won’t receive compensation until the sixth month if you are found eligible. The application process itself can take a few months so the faster you act, the better.

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