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How The Social Security Administration Determines Disability Pay

by Alan Medina

If you are getting ready to file a claim for disability, you may be wondering how much money you'll eventually be receiving. The amount is not an exact science, and there's a complicated formula that the Social Security Administration uses when calculating disability. The formula is based on the average lifetime earnings of the applicant before the disability began. The pay is not based on how severe the disability is. This article will provide you a better understanding on what you can expect when the Social Security Administration is calculating your pay. 

Calculating Social Security Disability Benefits 

There are a number of factors that play into how Social Security determines how much an applicant is awarded in disability benefits. If the applicant receives disability benefits from private long-term disability insurance providers, those benefits do not affect Social Security disability benefits. However, if the applicant receives government-regulated disability benefits, such as temporary state disability benefits or workers' compensation benefits, those benefits can affect Social Security disability. An individual cannot receive more than 80 percent of the average amount the applicant earned before he became disabled in Social Security and other disability benefits.

If the applicant does receive other benefits, his Social Security disability is reduced. Veterans benefits and Social Security supplemental income do not reduce Social Security Disability benefits, though those benefits reduce the supplemental income benefits and could make the applicant ineligible to collect Social Security supplemental income benefits.

The Social Security Administration has a benefit estimate calculator on its website, and it allows individuals to estimate their retirement, survivor benefits and potential disability benefits using retirement dates and the level of any future earnings.

Social Security Back Pay

It's highly possible that you will receive back pay in benefits, which will either be included in a portion of your monthly benefits, or be given to you in one lump sum payment. How much you receive in back pay is dependent on the amount Social Security determines to be your benefit. How many months of back-pay is determined by the date you applied for benefits, and the date that your disability started. 

The reason back pay is awarded is because it takes a very long time for social security disability claims to be processed. There's a mandatory five-month waiting period, and back pay is only calculated after the five-month waiting period is over. This applies only to social security disability. Those applying for supplemental income are not subject to the five-month waiting period. 

For more information, contact a disability lawyer from the Law Offices Of Russell J. Goldsmith or a similar firm.