The Social Security Administration makes annual adjustments to its payments made to individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits. The adjustments payments made through Social Security retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Supplemental Security Income programs reflect cost-of-living adjustments based on changes in the Consumer Price Index.
The 2021 COLA adjustment went into effect in January 2021. Here is a look at how payments under the two disability programs changed, as well as information about how benefit payments are calculated and how to use the benefits pay chart published by the Social Security Administration. Keep in mind that getting help with applications, appeals and other matters related to disability benefits, including answers to questions about the amount of the benefits that you are entitled to receive is available from a Social Security Disability lawyer at NY Disability.
Maximum benefits payable through SSI
As a need-based program, eligibility for SSI focuses on the presence of a qualifying disability and the person applying for benefits having limited income and resources. Unlike SSDI that bases eligibility in part on your work record, SSI applicants can receive benefits without ever having worked. This means that your benefits are not based on prior earnings.
Social Security Disability Benefits Pay Chart 2021
Instead, SSI benefits are set by federal regulations. The monthly benefits as shown on the SSI benefits chart issued for 2021 are the following:
- Eligible individual: $9,530.12 annual maximum, which is rounded to a monthly payment of $794.
- Eligible couple: $14,293.61 annual maximum, which is rounded to a payment of $1,191 monthly.
- Essential person: $4,775.99 annual maximum paid to an essential person that is rounded to a monthly payment of $397.
An essential person is a person who lives with and provides essential care to someone who is blind or disabled and receiving SSI benefits. An SSI lawyer at NY Disability can review the requirements that must be met for someone to qualify as an essential person.
How are monthly SSI payments determined?
The monthly payment is shown in the Social Security disability pay chart for 2021 is the maximum an individual or a couple may receive, but your payment may be less. The reason has to do with income limits placed on SSI recipients.
If you have earnings from a job or other sources of income, it may be deducted from the maximum monthly benefit as shown in the pay chart and result in a reduced payment to you. However, SSI does not count all income. Some examples of income that is not countable against you include the following:
- The first $20 a month of earned or unearned income.
- The first $65 of earned monthly income, such as from working at a job.
- One-half of the balance remaining of earned income after deducting the first $65 and, if you did not have other earned or unearned income in a month, the $20 exclusion.
The monthly SSI benefit will be reduced by the countable income that you receive. If you are younger than 22-years-old and a student, you may qualify to exclude up to $1,930 of monthly income earned from working. The annual maximum exclusion for a student is $7,770, so anything earned more than that would be deducted from the maximum monthly benefit as shown in the disability benefits chart. Talk to your SSD lawyer if you believe you or your child qualify for the student exclusion.
Calculating your SSDI monthly benefit
The Social Security disability benefits pay chart applies only to payments through the SSI program. It does not apply if the benefits you receive are through the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
If you want to know what your SSDI benefits will be, talk to an SSDI lawyer at NY Disability. Social Security uses a weighted formula to determine how much you should receive as your monthly SSDI benefit. Neither how long you have been disabled and unable to work, nor the severity of the medical condition causing you to be disabled factors into determining the amount of your monthly SSDI benefits.
The monthly SSDI that you receive is based on your lifetime earnings that were subject to payment of Social Security taxes. Social Security uses your average indexed monthly earnings or AIME to begin the process of calculating your monthly benefit, but a much easier way to determine monthly SSDI is by using one of the online calculators available at the Social Security website.
Getting help from a Social Security disability lawyer
NY Disability provides outstanding advice and representation in all matters related to Social Security disability, including applications. When an unfavorable determination affects a claimant’s benefits, an SSD lawyer is available to challenge it through the appeal process. Learn more about your benefits by speaking to a Social Security disability lawyer today during a free consultation.