An injury or disability can leave you unable to work and obtain the income you need to survive. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was created to help qualifying workers who find themselves in this stressful situation. If you suffer a disability that leaves you unable to work, you may qualify for SSDI benefits. But how much will you qualify for?
Qualifying for SSDI Benefits
To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of disability:
- Your earnings are less than Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limits
- Because of your total disability, you are unable to continue your job or to perform a different job
- Your disability is expected to last at least one year or to result in death
- Your disability is on the SSA’s list of medical conditions or is severe
In addition to a qualifying disability, you must have worked for long enough and recently enough to obtain benefits. Benefits are awarded based on work credits earned during your time in the workforce.
Calculating SSDI Benefits
Once you qualify, the SSA applies a formula to your work history to determine the amount of monthly benefits you receive. The SSA computes your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME), or inflation-adjusted wages, using the following steps:
- Determine the number of years you worked, with a max of 35
- Choose the years with the highest indexed earnings and add them together
- Divide by the total number of months in all those years to obtain an average
- Round the average down to the next lower dollar amount
Once the AIME is determined, they calculate the primary insurance amount (PIA) through a complex formula. The PIA formula breaks the AIME into three separate portions, called bend points. A percentage of each bend point is calculated and the resulting three numbers are added together to determine the monthly SSDI benefit amount. The percentages are fixed by law, but the bend points change annually.
Other benefits you receive, such as workers’ comp or government pensions, may reduce your calculated SSDI benefits. In addition, there is a family maximum benefit.
Confused?You are not alone. A qualified SSDI attorney can help you understand the formulas for calculating your SSDI benefit.
Skilled Colorado SSDI Attorney Helps Maximize Benefits
SSDI benefits are essential when you are disabled and no longer able to work. At the Law Office of John A. Anderson, Jr., LLC, we help clients properly file SSDI applications or appeal denials to ensure you obtain your rightful benefits. To discuss your disability claim with a trusted Adams County lawyer today, call us at (303) 880-7994 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.