How much does Social Security disability pay a month

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program that provides benefits to qualified workers who can no longer work. 

According to the June 2021 figures from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the estimated average Social Security disability benefit is  $1,277 per month. 

If you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, your disability payment will be based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability. This is the main factor that will determine your benefit amount. Social Security Disability benefits are not calculated based on the severity of your injuries, and you cannot be denied no matter how many resources you may have. But the benefits may be reduced if you get disability payments from other sources, such as workers’ compensation. A regular income won’t affect your SSDI payment amount.

Average Social Security Disability Insurance Payment

As stated earlier, the average SSDI payment is currently $1,277. The highest monthly payment you can receive from SSDI in 2021, at full retirement age, is $3,148. Monthly Social Security disability benefits range from $100 to a maximum of $3,148. No matter the state, the Social Security Disability Insurance stays the same.

Average Indexed Monthly Earnings & Primary Insurance Amount

Social Security calculates your benefits after the average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) and primary insurance amount (PIA). To do so, the SSA will first determine your AIME by adjusting or indexing your lifetime earnings to account for any increase in wages that happened during your work years. The SSA will use up to 35 years of your working period in the calculation. 

Then the SSA will use the total of three fixed percentages of your AIME to determine your PIA, the base amount of your benefits. The money resulting from his calculation is called ‘bend points’ and will change every year to follow the national average wage index. 

To give you an idea of how PIA is calculated if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits in 2021, bear in mind that PIA is the sum of:

  • 90% of the first $996 of average indexed monthly earnings
  • 32% of the average indexed monthly earnings over $996 through $6,002, and
  • 15% of the average indexed monthly earnings over $6,002.

When do payments begin?

Most people tend to believe that they have to be disabled for some time before applying for Social Security disability benefits. But this is false. As soon as you think you are disabled, you should immediately apply for them. On the other hand, there is a mandatory waiting period once you have filed for such benefits, and you will receive them after your sixth full month of disability.

According to Social Security, the application process may take three to five months, while the mandatory waiting period can reach five months. Therefore, you should apply for Social Security disability benefits as soon as you become disabled, and you could ask for an estimation of both retirement and disability benefits for you and your family members. According to the SSA, more than 60% of disability applicants are initially denied. You can visit to learn more about how you can apply for Social Security disability benefits. 

Chung Nguyen

Chung is a seasoned business journalist with a focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. With over 15 years of experience covering the world of finance and economics, Rachel has established herself as a respected authority on responsible business practices. Throughout her career, Chung has interviewed some of the most influential leaders in the corporate world and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Climate Change Conference. She is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for her work. Chung's passion for promoting sustainable business practices has also led her to author a book on the topic.