If you become disabled and cannot work because of your medical condition, you could qualify to receive monetary benefits under a program established by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These payments offer essential financial support when you’re unable to work, and they’re funded by taxes you paid while working through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). In general, the amount is based upon how much you earned over your lifetime before the onset of your disability, but one of our Tacoma Social Security Disability lawyers can help you. This article covers the factors that determine how much you can earn while on Social Security disability in 2019.

Your “Covered” Earnings

The exact calculation is actually more complicated and unique for every applicant. The maximum benefit for 2019 is $2,861 in 2019 while the average amount for recipients is $1,234. An SSDI lawyer can provide more details, but some background information can help answer your questions.

The primary factor for how much you can earn on SSDI centers on the amount of income on which you paid into FICA through mandatory contributions deducted from your paycheck. This is your “covered” earnings. Your average covered earnings over a period of years is called your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME), and it’s this number that will determine the base figure used to establish your monthly benefit amount. Then, the SSA applies a formula involving percentages to determine the exact amount of SSDI benefits you receive.

Additional Factors That Affect SSDI

For some SSDI recipients, there are other considerations that may impact the number of monthly benefits, including:

  • Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA): Your SGA is the amount of money you can earn despite your disability. The SGA level for 2019 is $1,220 for most disabilities and $2,040 for those who are blind. If you make more than this amount per month, you aren’t eligible to receive SSDI benefits. There’s a sliding scale for recipients who earn some amount under the SGA level.
  • Payments from Other Disability-Related Sources: If you receive any form of government disability benefits, including workers’ compensation or state disability benefits, these amounts may reduce your SSDI benefits. However, the amount is not affected if you receive VA benefits or have disability coverage through a private insurance company.
  • SSDI Backpay: For some applicants, there is some time lag between the application date and the date of onset – the date the SSA determines that your disability began. You may qualify for back pay during this time, which could increase the amount of SSDI benefits you receive.

Other Income

You should note an important factor does NOT affect how much you can earn while on SSDI in 2019: Your unearned income. You can make any amount from non-work sources, such as investment accounts, interest, rents, or your spouse’s income. This income will not change the amount of your SSDI benefits.

Consult with an Experienced SSDI Lawyer About Your Benefits While on Disability

For more detailed information on how much you can receive in SSDI benefits, please contact our experienced Social Security Disability lawyers in Tacoma at the Alliance Law Group. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances and explain how your SSDI amount is calculated.