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Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld

Relentlessly Protecting California Workers' Rights Since 1956

What are the Different Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Payment Amounts?


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program that benefits individuals with a disability who have worked and paid Social Security taxes. The amount of SSDI benefits a person can receive is based on their earnings and work history.

Since 1956, our Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys in Santa Barbara at Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld have helped California residents understand their eligibility for SSDI and provided customized legal strategies to obtain these critical benefits to help improve their quality of life.

Here, we discuss the different types of SSDI benefits and how payment amounts are determined.

How to Determine SSDI Benefits and Payment Amounts

When determining SSDI benefits, it is essential to note that the specific payment amount for an individual can vary widely based on factors like their work history, lifetime earnings, and other personal circumstances.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide individuals with a personalized benefit statement outlining their estimated SSDI benefits, which may include:

  • Disabled Worker Benefits

These benefits are paid to individuals who have a disability and have earned enough work credits to qualify. The payment amount is calculated based on the person’s average lifetime earnings, adjusted for inflation.

The more an individual has paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes, the higher their monthly benefit will be.

  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits

These benefits are available to adults (age 18 or older) who became disabled before age 22 and are the dependent children of a parent entitled to SSDI benefits, retired, or deceased.

The payment is generally 50% of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit.

  • Disabled Widow/Widower Benefits

Surviving spouses of deceased workers eligible for SSDI benefits may be entitled to these benefits if they are disabled and meet the eligibility requirements.

The payment amount is generally based on the deceased spouse’s earnings record.

  • Auxiliary Benefits

These benefits are paid to the dependents of disabled workers receiving SSDI benefits. Eligible dependents can include spouses, children, and sometimes even parents.

The payment amount is based on the disabled worker’s benefit amount.

  • Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility

SSDI recipients who attempt to return to work may be entitled to a Trial Work Period, during which they can continue to receive full SSDI benefits regardless of their earnings. After the Trial Work Period, there is an Extended Period of Eligibility, during which benefits continue if the individual’s earnings do not exceed the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level.

If earnings exceed the SGA level, benefits may be suspended.

  • Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA)

SSDI benefits are subject to periodic cost-of-living adjustments to keep pace with inflation. The increase can vary yearly based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

To get an accurate estimate of your potential SSDI benefits and to learn how we can help you navigate the complex Social Security Administration’s eligibility requirements, contact our Social Security disability insurance attorneys today.

At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, our California workers’ compensation attorneys have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs.

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