How much money you'll 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).
The full monthly federal benefit for an SSI recipient is fixed, subject to annual increases. In 2023, the federal base payment is $914 (up from $841 in 2022). For a couple where both spouses receive SSI, the monthly payment is $1,371 in 2023 (up from $1,261 in 2022).
You'll receive more money than this amount if your state pays an extra state supplemental payment or less than this if you make any income or live with someone who pays for your food and/or shelter. For more information on supplemental payments and how income is counted, see our article on how much SSI pays.
In contrast to SSI, 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 (by paying FICA or self-employment taxes). The average monthly payment in 2023 is $1,483, and the most you can receive is $3,267.
Unlike SSI payments, the Social Security Administration (SSA) won't count any income against you to lower the money you'll receive from SSDI. The only reduction that may be taken from your SSDI benefit is for an offset for workers' comp benefits or an offset for temporary state disability benefits. (VA benefits will not reduce your SSDI benefit.)
Also, states don't add extra money to SSDI benefits as some states do with SSI. Because of these factors, your SSDI benefit 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 in December. For more information, see our article on how much SSDI pays.
The amount of disability money you receive either through SSDI or SSI doesn't depend on how disabled you are. The SSA will find you 100% disabled (meaning you can't work a full-time job) or not at all.
Other programs for injured or disabled persons, such as workers' compensation and veterans disability, are different in this regard. The workers' comp and service-connected disability compensation programs generally rate your disability on a percentage scale and your percentage of disability sets the amount of money you'll get.
Most disability applicants who are approved for benefits also receive money for the months leading up to Social Security's disability decision. The amount of back payments or retroactive disability benefits 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.
Updated February 3, 2023