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How Much Can You Get In Disability Benefits?

March 26, 2018

“How much can I get for disability benefits?” is a very popular question people ask when looking at options for income when a disability is present. Wondering how much one can receive is valid as many claimants suffer financially from their disabling condition(s) and cannot work like they once could. Paulette Balin, Principal Attorney at Balin Law, explains how much one can receive if awarded disability benefits:

Video Transcription

Clients often ask me how much am I going to get at the end of the day? And my answer is: that’s a great question. It all depends. It depends on how much you paid into Social Security. The average disabled worker in 2017 gets $1,171 per month. Now, if you paid a lot into Social Security and you’ve got children, the maximum you can get is $2,687 per month.

Now that’s under the insurance program. There’s the SSI program where you don’t have to have paid into the Social Security Insurance program at all and that pays a maximum of $735 per month.

2018 Maximum Social Security Benefits

Every year, the Social Security Administration can adjust maximum Social Security benefits. In 2018, the average disabled worker can get $1,180 per month, which is an increase from 2017. If you’ve paid a lot into Social Security and you’ve got children, the maximum you can get is $2,788 per month, which is also an increase from 2017.

Aside from the Social Security Disability Insurance program’s benefits described above, there’s the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. In 2018, the maximum one can get for SSI is $750 per month, which is an increase from 2017.

Can you work while waiting for a disability decision?

Social Security disability benefits are meant for people unable to work like they once could because of a disabling condition(s). However, claimants still need to eat and have a roof over their head so stopping work entirely isn’t always realistic. Luckily, the Social Security Administration understands this predicament so there are guidelines set for one to care for themselves while waiting for a disability claim approval.

Read more about working while waiting for a disability decision.

Can you return to work after being on disability?

While waiting for a decision on a Social Security disability claim, one might return to work for several different reasons. From paying bills that are piling up to someone who feels their condition is improving, and more. Many think this would end the disability claim, but that’s not always the case. The Social Security Administration has specific regulations in place that allow someone to try to return to work without affecting their pending claim or benefits they may already be receiving.

Read more about returning to work after being on Social Security disability.

SSA Trial Work Period

Earnings trigger a trial work period. While someone is receiving Social Security disability benefits, one may test his or her ability to work and still be considered disabled. During the first nine months of returning to work, one will still receive their SSDI benefits. At the end of nine months, the trial work period is over. Learn more about the Trial Work Period and please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.

Have questions about how much you can get for disability benefits? Contact the experienced Social Security disability lawyers at Balin Law today 866-492-2546



  1. Levi A. on February 2, 2021 at 6:56 am

    It’s great to know that there are specific rules in place that would allow a person waiting for a disability decision to work to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. My cousin plans to hire a disability lawyer soon because he wants to file an SSD claim. He would appreciate this information when I visit him at the hospital this weekend. Thanks.

  2. Alice on August 27, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Hello, Currently I receive $685 SSDI. I was born completely blind in 1973. Up until eligibility off my own record, I received some off my dads (also blind) through DAC, Then I got married. I first applied and received SSDI off my own record when I was around 24 (1996). The amount was around $384. This was based off very minimal earnings at the time over few years, Approximately $6700 being max year.About a year later I received one very small increase due to earnings and any other increases where due to COLA. Then Lost my Job had very minimal work, many -0- years, So understandably no increases.

    Seven years ago. I started a part time job. First year was great, earning approximately $22,000, Which pushed SGA and I lost SSDI for about 3 months. Later that year, the company cut my hours and I was able to do a expedited reapp. They where reinstated where I left off at around $645. I hoped during the re-ap that since I had earned more maybe they would have been little higher, but unfortunately not. For the last 6 years I have averaged income of around $14,500 to $15,500 from my part time job. I do know my income does show correctly for previous years right up to 2020 in the MySSA online portal.

    It seems from what I have been told, my benefits should have gone up at least a little due to earnings and automatic recalculations every year. However, they have never increased other than COLA. It has been suggested to me by friends (That really don’t know much more than me) that I call and ask for a “manual recalculation”. However, I am unsure of what info I should make sure is correct. For example, One person informed me that I should make sure the “Onset date” is correct, but even that I have conflicting information. One telling me it should be 1973 since I was born Blind and another telling me it should be 1996 when I first applied, another saying it should be the reapp date and even yet another saying it actually doesn’t matter and has no effect on amount. I am also told that since I am Blind and have been that way since birth and have always received benefits in someway from very young age, calculations are little different that what you usually read online, although I don’t fully understand how, Something about not calculating full 35 years and such.

    So my question is, would hurt to call and ask for a recalculation or does it sound like my thought that they should have gone up little are incorrect and would I be wasting my time. If I should, could you give me idea if there are any specific things I should inquire about to make all ducks are lined up properly in the gov’ts computers? And last can asking for manual re-calculation lower or some reason stop my benefits? Any info you could give me would be fantastic.

    • balinlawadmin on September 1, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Alice – thanks for your question and sharing this info. We advise you to contact your SSA Claims Rep. They should be able to help you sort this out! EP

  3. rachel f. on June 23, 2020 at 2:47 am

    I have been planning to hire a Social Security attorney because ever since I got into an accident my ability to walk has been greatly affected, and this cost me my job. It’s great to learn that in the year 2018, the average disabled worker may obtain $1,180 per month. Although, it’s great to learn that there’s a possibility in which I will be allowed to go back to work.

  4. Salina Spurlin on October 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Do you help with applying for OPERS disability?

    • Balin Law on October 8, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Salina!
      Unfortunately, we do not handle cases for OPERS disability. However, you can contact Margolius, Margolius & Associates as they may be able to assist you. Hope this helps! -EP

  5. Taylor Anderson on August 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I like how you pointed out that social security benefits are for those who are unable to work, so working before your claim is accepted is not a good idea. One of my neighbors has terrible chronic pain, so he is unable to function properly. I’ve heard that hiring a lawyer can help improve his chances of getting SSI benefits, but do you have any other tips?

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