The following information provides a snap shot of Social Security disability benefits. Individuals may receive benefits under either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).     

If I am approved for Social Security disability benefits, how much will I get?

In general – benefits are very modest. The average SSDI benefit for a disabled worker is about $1,130 a month. For a family, the average benefit is $1,919 a month. 

If I am approved for SSI benefits, how much will I get?

For all types of SSI benefits, there is a base amount that an individual with no other income receives. Other income that an individual has reduces the amount of SSI which an individual can receive.

Under SSI, the maximum benefit for 2013 is $710 per month for an individual, just three-quarters of the federal poverty line and less than $17 a day. Because a beneficiary may receive less due to their earned income, or the individual’s living situation, the average SSI monthly benefit is $509 per month for an individual.

How far back will they pay benefits if I am found disabled?

  • For disability insurance benefits and for disabled widow's and widower's benefits, the benefits cannot begin until five months have passed after the person becomes disabled. In addition, benefits cannot be paid more than one year prior to the date of the claim.
  • For a disabled adult child, there is no five-month waiting period for benefits to begin, but benefits cannot be paid more than six months prior to the date the application for benefits was filed. 
  • SSI benefits cannot be paid prior to the start of the month following the date of the claim 

I am already receiving Social Security disability benefits, but I am worried that my benefits will be stopped in the future. What are the chances of this happening?

Social Security periodically reviews individual cases to determine eligibility for disability benefits. When Social Security reviews a case of someone already on Social Security disability benefits, they continue benefits in the vast majority of cases. 

In the next few years, Social Security will be completing far more reviews of individuals to determine whether they are still disabled. However, most individuals who are reviewed will see their Social Security disability benefits continued.

If Social Security tries to cut off my disability benefits, what can I do? 

You should appeal immediately. If you appeal within 10 days after being notified that your disability benefits are being ceased, you can ask that your disability benefits continue while you appeal the decision cutting off your benefits. If you do not appeal within the first 60 days of receiving notification, you may lose the right to appeal.

You may also want to talk with an attorney about representing you on your case, but you should file the appeal immediately. 


Adapted from a publication from Charles T. Hall, Esq., NOSSCR Past President. 

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