Social security disability benefits amounts can often vary based on how much your average lifetime earnings were before your injury or disability began. Many often question how much does social security disability pay? What is my social security disability amount? How can I get more money from social security disability? We are here to answer those questions and provide you the most accurate details on social security disability payment amounts.

In October 2020, there were 9,695,000 social security disability insurance (SSDI) recipients. The average amount of social security disability payments was $1,127.81. In the same month, there were 8,008,000 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with the average monthly payment at $579.56.

How is the amount of social security disability benefits calculated?

The social security disability amounts vary for each individual. Calculating social security disability benefits often requires the Social Security Agency (SSA) to evaluate your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) in addition to your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). Depending on how high your AIME was, a social security disability benefits amount calculator may calculate a higher amount for you.

The AIME is used to estimate social security disability benefits by adjusting or “indexing” your earnings to reflect the general wage increases throughout the years you were employed or worked. The AIME is crucial to demonstrate an increase in your benefits and ensure the rise in earnings reflects your benefits. The SSA looks at up to thirty-five years of your work history, then uses the social security disability income calculator to calculate the years with the highest indexed earnings divided by the total months of those years.

For SSDI, the average lifetime earnings before your disability are the only factor for calculating your social security disability benefit amount. Therefore, the severity of your disability is not included in the calculation. Once your AIME is calculated, the SSA then uses that number in a formula that calculates your PIA. The PIA is the key factor in the calculation and acts as the base amount for your social security disability monthly payment.

The SSA uses a PIA formula that calculates the sum of:

  1. 90% of the first $996 of the AIME +
  2. 32% of the AIME over $996 but under or equal to $6,002 +
  3. 15% of the AIME over $6,0002.

The SSA then rounds the total amount from those three factors to the next lower multiple of $0.10, if it is not already a multiple of $0.10. The PIA bend points for 2021 (as laid out in the formula above) are:

First Bend Point: $180 times 54,099.99 divided by 9,779.44 equals $995.76, which rounds to $996

Second Bend Point: $1,085 times 54,099.99 divided by 9,779.44 equals $6,002.23, which rounds to $6,002

The maximum social security disability benefit for a disabled worker’s family is 85% of the workers’ AIME and cannot be more than 150% of the PIA. However, the minimum social security disability benefit cannot be less than the workers’ PIA. On December 4, 2020, the SSA released a Fact Sheet describing the Social Security Disability Thresholds in 2020 and 2021. We summarize these social security disability benefit payments in the social security disability payment chart below:

Social Security Disability Thresholds

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)


Non-Blind: $1,260/month

Blind: $2,110/month

Trial Work Period (TWP): $910/month


Non-Blind: $1,310/month

Blind: $2,190/month

Trial Work Period (TWP): $940/month

SSI Federal Payment Standard


Individual: $783/month

Couple: $1,175/month


Individual: $794/month

Couple: $1,191/month

SSI Resource Limits


Individual: $2000

Couple: $3000


Individual: $2000

Couple: $3000

Average Monthly Social Security Benefits Payable in January 2021

Before 1.3% COLA

Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children: $2,195

All Disabled Workers: $1,261

After 1.3% COLA

Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children: $2,224

All Disabled Workers: $1,277

How can you increase your social security disability benefits or how can you receive the maximum social security disability benefits?

Unfortunately, since the formula is largely based on your work history, there are not many ways to increase the amount you can receive for social security disability payments or benefits.

However, it is crucial to take immediate steps as soon as you become disabled and are no longer able to work. Your condition must last for at least a year, is expected to last for at least a year, or will end in death. You can ask an SSDI lawyer or representative for assistance or receive a free evaluation to determine the amount you may be eligible for. Further, you can ask your doctor to help you fill out some of the forms required to prove your disability. You must be specific when filling out this information, reporting your diagnosis, and how the disability affects your everyday life and inability to work.

In addition to social security disability benefit payments, you can also receive other forms of disability benefits, such as SSI, food stamps, affordable housing programs, or other forms of assistance.

The SSA provides a social security disability payment calculator, which you can use to help determine how much money you may be eligible for social security disability benefits. However, it is always important to note that you and certain family members will only be eligible for social security disability insurance benefits if you paid Social Security taxes.

The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool is also a great resource that you can use to find the right social security benefits for you.

The easiest way to determine how much you could potentially receive for social security disability is to check your benefits statement on the SSA website, which will determine how much you would be eligible for if you become disabled this year or are currently disabled.

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