In October 2023, the average disability pay from Social Security was $1,665.14 per month. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are largely based on how much Social Security tax you paid on previous earnings. The maximum monthly SSDI benefit is $3,627 in 2023 and $3,822 in 2024.
Average monthly disability pay by state
Because cost of living varies by location and a beneficiary’s SSDI payment is determined by their lifetime earnings (among other things), the average SSDI monthly benefit varies by state. In 2022, Delaware had the highest average monthly SSDI payment at $1,599.97, and the District of Columbia had the lowest at $1,321.04.
Tap to see a table of average monthly disability pay by state
How disability pay is calculated
The SSA calculates SSDI using much of the same approach it uses to calculate retirement benefits, including measuring your average earnings from jobs at which you paid Social Security tax on your wages. The formula excludes income on which you did not pay Social Security tax.
The size of SSDI benefits does not depend on the severity of your disability, so waiting until your disability worsens to apply for SSDI does not increase your monthly benefit.
Once the Social Security Administration adjusts your past earnings for inflation and calculates the average of your 35 highest-earning years, it applies “bend point” percentages to certain portions of your average earnings. Each total for each bend point is added together to calculate your primary insurance amount (PIA).
The bend points for 2023 are:
32% of any amount between $1,115 and $6,721.
15% of any amount above $6,721.
The bend points for 2024 are:
32% of any amount between $1,174 and $7,078.
15% of any amount above $7,078.
Your PIA is the amount you’ll receive each month if you qualify for SSDI benefits. The PIA formula is designed to support payments to individuals with lower income over their lifetime.
Example of a disability pay calculation
Working while receiving disability pay
Yes, you can work while collecting SSDI benefits, but there is a limit to how much you can earn per month before the Social Security Administration reduces your disability pay. The substantial gainful activity limit for 2023 is $1,470 per month ($2,460 if you’re blind). In 2024, the limit is $1,550 per month ($2,590 if blind).If you earn more than the limit, you’ll no longer qualify for SSDI benefits.
The SSA has work incentive programs to help SSDI beneficiaries test the waters with part-time work before returning full time. Together these programs are referred to as the Ticket to Work program. Each type of program offers different benefits and has different requirements.
If you decide to work while receiving SSDI benefits, contact the SSA to let them know that you’re working and learn about what information you’ll need to report each month.
Did you know…
The SSA applies its annual cost-of-living adjustment to disability pay automatically. This helps keep benefits on pace with inflation.
Other income that can lower your disability pay
The SSA might lower your monthly disability payment if you receive workers’ compensation for a job-related disability or public disability benefits for disabilities unrelated to your job, such as state-based disability.
However, these benefits don’t decrease your SSDI benefits:
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Applying for SSDI benefits
You can apply for SSDI online, by phone or in person at your local SSA office. To apply over the phone, call 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are hard of hearing or deaf.
To apply you’ll submit an application and a medical release form along with records of your diagnosis, information about your work history and proof of certain information such as identity and citizenship.