According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the maximum monthly Social Security Disability benefit is $3,345 per month in 2022 – up from $3,148 in 2021. This number is also the maximum monthly amount people who have reached full retirement age can receive for their monthly Social Security retirement payment.
Our disability lawyers understand how the SSA determines the benefit amount for disability recipients. We can help you apply for disability or handle your appeal if your application was denied.
Will You Receive the Maximum Disability Amount?
Your monthly disability benefit depends on the amount of taxes you paid into the Social Security system over your working career before you became disabled. You might not receive the full $3,345 each month, but you could qualify for an amount closer to the average monthly disability benefit.
Average Monthly Disability Benefit Amounts
The 2021 average monthly benefit for all disabled workers is $1,277. This amount is about a 1.3-percent increase from the 2020 average of $1,261. This increase is due to the SSA’s annual cost of living adjustments.
How Do You Calculate My Monthly Disability Payment?
Social Security is calculated using a detailed formula from the SSA. This formula takes into account different percentages of your income to arrive at a basic benefit amount.
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How Do You Qualify for Disability Benefits?
To qualify for benefits, you must have a medical condition that meets the SSA’s definition of disability. The organization considers you disabled if:
- Your medical condition prevents you from working as you once did; and
- You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition; and
- Your disability is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
In addition, you need to meet the technical requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Qualifying for SSDI
To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked long enough in jobs where Social Security taxes were withheld from your paycheck. Every year that you work and pay Social Security taxes, you receive “work credits,” which help you qualify for federal benefits.
You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. You are eligible to receive benefits once you achieve a minimum of 20 work credits, roughly five years of work. You may also be eligible with fewer work credits depending upon your age.
Qualifying for SSI
If you do not have an adequate work history, you might qualify for SSI benefits. This program only accepts applicants who meet strict income restrictions and have very few personal assets.
Our attorneys can help you determine if you meet these criteria.
Disorders That Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits
In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a disability that is recognized by the Social Security Administration Blue Book. Some of which include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders, e.g., burns, craniofacial injuries, pathologic fractures
- Respiratory disorders, e.g., cystic fibrosis, asthma, respiratory failure
- Cardiovascular disorders, e.g., aortic aneurysm, ischemic heart disease, symptomatic congenital heart disease
- Digestive system disorders, e.g., inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic liver disease
- Skin disorders, e.g., dermatitis, Bullous disease, burns
- Neurological disorders, e.g., cerebral palsy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonian syndrome
- Mental disorders, e.g., schizophrenia, intellectual disorder, depressive, bipolar, or a related disorder
If you don’t have a disorder or disability specifically noted by the SSA, you still have other options. With your medical records, including doctor’s notes, and other forms of documentation, the program might make an exception.
Forms of Evidence You Can Include in Your Disability Claim
Whenever you submit a claim for disability benefits, you must have proof of identification, citizenship, and work history. However, the most important information is medical history. The SSA says that such evidence should include professional documentation of:
- Existence/diagnosis of your impairment
- How long you have endured this impairment
- The severity of your impairment
- Your complaints of this impairment
The Social Security Administration will often also set up a consultative examination (CE) with an independent medical or vocational professional.
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What If You Receive a Denial?
Generally, the SSA denies disability benefits because applicants do not provide the evidence needed to prove their medical condition. If you were initially denied benefits, it is important not to delay. You have 60 days to appeal your denial. Before you file your request, you might want to consider contacting our law firm.
We can explain the appeals process to you. We can help you meet your appeal deadlines and represent you at a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
If the ALJ approves you for benefits during this process, you will begin receiving your benefits shortly after the approval. You could also qualify for back benefits that pay you for the time you had to wait to begin receiving your monthly award. We can determine how far back these benefits might go.
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Connect with Berger and Green for Help with Your Disability Benefit Claim
The attorneys at Berger and Green have more than 40 years of experience handling all aspects of disability claims. We work hard to get our clients the benefits that they deserve. If you want to file a disability claim or the SSA denied your initial application, we can help.
If your disability was the result of someone else’s careless or reckless actions, you might have a valid personal injury case. Our attorneys might be able to help you recover damages in addition to your Social Security benefits. Contact us today at (412) 661-1400 for a free consultation.
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