How Much Money Will I Get If I Qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?
The amount of disability you'll collect depends on the program you qualify for and the date you apply.
How much money you will receive if you qualify for disability benefits will depend on whether your application was for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).
Monthly SSI Benefits
The full monthly federal benefit for an SSI recipient is fixed, subject to annual increases. In 2016, the federal base payment is $733. However, you will likely receive more than this amount if your state pays an extra state supplemental payment or less than this if you make any income. For more information on supplemental payments and how income is counted, see our article on how much SSI pays.
Monthly SSDI Benefits
In contrast, the monthly benefit for a Social Security disability recipient depends on prior earnings: how much and how long you worked and paid into the Social Security system. The most you can receive in 2016 is $2,639, but the average monthly payment is $1,666.
Unlike SSI, the SSA won't count any income against you to lower your SSDI benefit. The only reduction that may be taken from your SSDI benefit is for workers' comp benefits or temporary state disability benefits. (VA benefits will not reduce your SSDI benefit.) Also, your state won't add extra money to your benefit. Because of these factors, SSDI is a fixed monthly payment; it won't go up or down except for once per year, if there is a cost-of-living adjustment. For more information, see our article on how much SSDI pays.
In neither case (SSI or SSDI) does the disability payment you receive depend on how disabled you are (unlike other programs for injured or disabled persons, such as workers' compensation and veterans disability).
Back Payments of Benefits
Most disability applicants who are approved for benefits also receive some type of back payments or retroactive disability benefits. The amount of backpay you'll get depends on whether you get SSDI or SSI, when you applied for disability, and when your disability began. For more information, see our section on Social Security disability back payments.