Calculating Social Security Disability Settlements

How Are Social Security Disability Settlements Calculated?

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Calculating Social Security Disability Settlements

If you’ve recently applied for Social Security disability benefits, you likely have already endured some serious hardship. An injury or illness that causes disability can be traumatic, and not being able to work can leave you feeling lost and hopeless. Furthermore, delayed or improperly denied claims can exacerbate unbearable stress and serious financial hardship.

If you’re having trouble receiving Social Security disability benefits, Morgan & Morgan is here to help. We assist many applicants—whether they are applying for the first time or appealing a denied claim. Our nationwide team of 800 lawyers and 3,000 team members includes Social Security experts who can help you every step of the way.

Wherever you are in the application process, you may wonder how Social Security disability benefits and settlements are calculated. There are two types of benefits: needs-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and work history-based Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Each has its own requirements and formulas for calculating benefit amounts.

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  • How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    Many who apply for disability benefits from Social Security are rejected the first time around. For example, recent data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) shows that 70% of initial SSI claims are turned down—up from 60% in 2000. 

    A Morgan & Morgan attorney can help applicants by ensuring that all the information they provide is accurate and compliant with the requirements of the SSA, including:

    • All paperwork and applications must be complete and up to date. Many initial rejections occur simply because the necessary information was not provided. 
    • The application must include proof of disability. In order to qualify for benefits, the applicant must prove that their disability has either kept them from working or will keep them from working in the upcoming year.
    • The applicant’s disability must be approved by the SSA. Social Security has a list of impairments that are currently approved for disability benefits. However, if you have a condition that is not on the list, the SSA will investigate to see if it qualifies.
    • The application must include all necessary income information. Your current financial situation and your work history will be taken into account to determine your eligibility and benefit amount.
  • How Are Benefits Calculated?

    Your benefit amount will depend on whether you qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and will be calculated according to the following:

    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is determined using these factors:
      • Recipients must have limited income and resources
      • Benefits are calculated according to the applicant’s financial needs 
      • Current maximum benefit is $794 per month for singles and $1191 for couples
    • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is based on work history instead of financial need and breaks down as follows:
      • The SSA calculates your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) based on your lifetime earnings up to the time of your disability
      • The total of three fixed percentages of your AIME is added to determine your benefit:
        • 90% of the first $996 of AIME
        • 32% of the AIME over $996 through $6,002
        • 15% of the AIME over $6,002
      • Confused? Contact Morgan & Morgan and we can help you estimate your SSDI benefit amount
    • Recently approved benefit amounts will be added. If your claim was held up or denied and then eventually approved, the SSA will send you a settlement for all the back-benefits you are owed. 
    • Other disability benefits will be deducted. For those receiving other disability-based income, this amount will be subtracted from your benefit.
    • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) will be added. Every year, the SSA uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine if benefits need to be increased to keep up with inflation and will adjust them accordingly.
  • Contact Morgan & Morgan

    At Morgan & Morgan, we understand how difficult living with a disability can be. We want to help you get approved for all of your rightful benefits. Our Social Security experts have helped many people through the application and appeals process. Let us put our experience to work for you.

    If you are unable to work, you may be wondering how you can afford a lawyer. Well, you can afford Morgan & Morgan because we work on a contingency basis—meaning you never pay a dime out-of-pocket. Your consultation is free and there’s no fee at all unless we win your case.

    We fight for the People, not the powerful. Fill out our free, no-obligation case evaluation form today and find out why there’s only one Morgan & Morgan.

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