The Ins and Outs of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Approved social security disability insurance claim form

Social Security Disability Insurance is a government program that pays people who can’t work because of a disability. To qualify, a person must have worked long enough and recently enough to be eligible for benefits. The disability must be expected to last one year or more or result in death.

Those are the basics—but the ins and out of SS disability insurance are so much more complex. To help you avoid critical mistakes, our SSI disability Colorado lawyers answer your questions.

What Medical Conditions Qualify for Social Security Disability?

The general qualification to be eligible to receive social security disability is having a medical condition indicated by medical records that prevent you from working and is expected to last for one year or more.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a listing of impairments covering various ailments, including

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Senses and speech conditions
  • Mental disorders
  • And many others

What Is the Maximum Social Security Disability Benefit for 2022?

The maximum Social Security Disability benefit for an individual in the United States for 2022 is $3,345. Benefits may also be available for qualifying family members1 up to a family maximum. However, most recipients do not receive the maximum amount. The average disability payment is $1,358.

SSI Base Amounts:

Recipient 2022 Anual Amounts 2022 Monthly Amounts
Individual $10,092.40 $841
Couple $15,136.93 $1,261
Essential Person $4775.99 $421

How Much Is Social Security Disability per Month?

Most SSD payments range from $800 to $1,800 per month. The Social Security Administration offers an overview of benefits online and an online calculator to determine your approximate monthly payment.

How Is the Social Security Disability Income Amount Determined?

The SSD income amount is determined based on the earnings record of the person who applies for payments. The amount is based on lifetime earnings at jobs where the worker had taxes withheld for SSD insurance payments. The severity of the disability and personal assets are not factors.

A complex formula determines your actual payment amount using your income record from before the disability. Your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are put into a multiplier – 90% of the first $1,204, 32% of AIME from $1,204-$6,172, and 15% of any additional income up to the maximum amount.

What Are the Benefits of Social Security Disability Insurance?

Man in wheelchair with disability

SSD insurance pays cash benefits. Individuals who receive social security benefits may also receive Medicare after a 24-month waiting period. Receiving benefits does not prevent you from collecting private disability insurance or bringing a personal injury claim.

You may also bring a worker’s compensation claim if you are eligible, but participating in both SS disability and worker’s compensation may affect your total benefits2 since you can’t receive more than 80% of your pre-disability earnings.

Can You Qualify for SSI if You’re Already Receiving SSDI?

Yes, it is possible to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you already receive SS disability income. However, the two programs may impact each other. Personal assets play a role in SSI eligibility, while SSD income does not examine the financial resources of the recipient.

In general, if your SSD payments exceed $861, you make too much to also receive SSI. If you can get both payments, your SSI will likely be reduced by your SS Disability payment.

Although it may seem like it’s not worth pursuing both programs, in the right circumstances, you may end up receiving more. In addition, SSI allows automatic Medicare qualification without the 24-month waiting period imposed by SS disability insurance

What Are the Differences Between SS, SSI, and SSDI?

  • Social Security – Pays benefits to retirees at a certain age, based on their income and work history; inability to work is not a factor
  • Social Security Insurance – Pays benefits based on disability; limited income and resources are a factor, work history is not a factor
  • Social Security Disability Insurance – Pays benefits based on disability; income and work history are a factor3; personal resources are not a factor

Can You Invest in Stocks if You Are on SS Disability?

Social Security disability benefits are not based on income. You are free to own stocks and other financial assets without any penalty to your Social Security disability payments. Personal assets may impact SSI eligibility and payments4.

Can a Disabled Person on SS Disability Have an S-Corp or LLC?

While a disabled person on SSDI can have an S-Corp or an LLC, an income above the monthly limit may disqualify you for benefits.

Is There a Minimum Age To Collect SS Disability Insurance?

A person ages 18-21 may apply for SSDI under their parent’s earnings record. Beginning at age 21, individuals may apply under their own earnings record if they have worked the minimum amount of time based on their age. From 21-30 years old, the person must have worked half the time since their 20th birthday. However, a dependent minor child may collect SSDI because of a disabled parent.

Do You Have To Report Passive Income on SSDI?

Passive income does not factor into qualification for SSDI payments. However, the person must be prepared to prove that the income is truly passive. Performing upkeep on a rental property, doing the mental work of choosing investments, or running a business may be seen as meaningful work and disqualifying for benefits.

How Much Does Social Security Disability Pay for a Mental Disability?

settlement check

A person may qualify for full SSDI payments based on a mental disability if that disability disqualifies them from working for at least 12 months. The person must have a qualifying work history to receive benefits through SSDI.

Can Disability Insurance Withhold Payment Due to Overpayment and Demand Additional Monies When SSDI and Child Support Are Sole Income?

When there is an SS disability insurance overpayment5, the beneficiary must repay it. Repayment is usually done through partial withholding of monthly benefits and can take many years. Payments may be withheld entirely, but a beneficiary may request a waiver6 or change the repayment rate.

If the Government Takes Away My SS Disability Insurance, Can I Collect Welfare?

Welfare eligibility is based on personal needs. You may be able to qualify if you have:

  1. Very low income
  2. Have a child age 18 or under
  3. Be 18 or younger and the head of a household

If a Mother Has Been Receiving SSDI for the Child During Separation and the Child Lives With the Father, Who Will Receive the Benefits When Divorced?

The mother will continue to receive the payment even after a divorce is finalized if she received SS disability based on her earning records. If she received spousal benefits, her payments would not be affected unless:

  • The marriage was less than ten years
  • She gets remarried
  • She becomes eligible to receive larger payments on her record

Can a Long-Term Care Facility Take the Entire Amount of a Resident’s Social Security Disability Income Every Month?

woman with nurse in long-term care facility

The law allows individuals to manage their funds and cannot be taken from individuals without consent. However, a person with a disability who lives in a long-term care facility will likely need to use the SS disability payments to cover living costs.

The type of facility a person lives in and the length of stay will determine how much SSDI a person can keep. If a patient resides in a facility where Medicaid pays for part of the cost, the benefit may be terminated or reduced. If the resident pays for a private facility, the state may supplement the payment.

How To File For Social Security Disability?

  1. Gather important personal information and documents
  2. Apply online or call 1-800-772-1213 (between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m, Monday through Friday)
  3. Wait for a response as your information is reviewed

What Other Programs Are There To Help People Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits?

If you find that your SSDI benefits are not enough to cover costs, you may be eligible for other programs:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicare
  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • Disability payments from employer or insurance company
  • HEAP (Home Energy Assitance Program)
  • Workers Comp
  • Veteran Affairs
  • Temporary State Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Lawyers

Are there social security disability lawyers near me? Yes—Our disability attorneys are here to help. Even a simple application error can interfere with your right to benefits and make the process longer and harder. Let us guide you through each step to ensure you get the maximum benefits available.

If you have questions about the SSDI application process, please contact our law firm today for your free consultation.


1SSA. Family Benefits. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
2SSA. (December 2021) How Workers’ Compensation and Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
3SSA. (January 2022). Working While Disabled: How We Can Help. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
4SSA. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Resources. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
5Hoffman,D., Fischer, B., et al. (2 November 2019). Work-Related Overpayments to Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries: Prevalence and Descriptive Statistics. SSA. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
6Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Avoiding and Managing SSI/SSDI Overpayments. Soar Works. Retrieved 24 February 2019.

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