The answer to this question depends on many factors, including whether you are claiming SSI or SSDI benefits. The SSI benefit amount has nothing to do with how much FICA an applicant paid.  Instead, the amount is set by law and depends on what state the applicant lives in, as well as his or her living situation.  In California, the 2017 SSI monthly SSI amount (including both the federal and state contributions) was $654.24 for individuals living in someone else’s household, $895.72 for individuals living independently, and $982.04 for individuals living independently but have no cooking facilities.  If both spouses are disabled, the combined SSI benefit is $1,147.75 if they are living in someone else’s household, $1,510.14 if they are living independently, and $1,682.77 if they are living independently but have no cooking facilities.  Moreover, your SSI benefit can be reduced by other income that you receive.

SSDI benefits depend on your work history and lifetime Social Security earnings.  In other words, the more you paid into Social Security, the more your SSDI benefit will be.  The amount of the SSDI benefit is called the Primary Insured Amount (“PIA”) and is different for everyone.  SSDI benefits are not reduced by other work income, but can be offset by the receipt of workers’ compensation and state disability benefits.

If you qualify for both SSI and SSDI, and your SSDI amount is higher, then you will receive that amount.  If your SSI amount is higher, then you will receive the lower SSDI amount plus an additional amount of SSI that will bring your total payment equal to the SSI amount.

Social Security Disability Topics

The Social Security Disability Process

Types of Social Security Disability Benefits

How Social Security Determines if You Are Disabled

Improving Your Chances of Winning

Do I really need to get an attorney?

Your Hearing Before An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

Appealing a Denial of Benefits