The social security disability is an insurance program federally run by the US government. That said, the more your income wages while you worked, the more payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, FICA you might have paid. The maximum taxable income in 2018 was $128,000. So, if your income fell between that threshold and you paid social security taxes under FICA, you would be eligible to apply for SSDI claims. But, how do you know how much you should be paid?
Primary Insurance Amount & AIME
Whether you decide to retire at 62 or above, your retirement benefits and hence SSDI, would be adjusted over the average wages earned in the last 35 years of your earnings. The total earnable benefit would be calculated by a complex formula set by the SSA.
If your earning years were less than 35 years, then each added year of no earnings would be assigned a zero value hence increasing your AIME index. The Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) would be calculated by adding up the average wages of your earning years and then subsequently dividing up the total amount by 140 (35 years into 12 months) to calculate the average wage you earned in your lifetime.
The AIME salaries are considered under three brackets each then further divided into 'bends' that indicate inflation rates in the respective years adjusting the total salary amounts accordingly. That said the three brackets would be as below:
- The first bracket runs from $1 to $791/ month, hence multiplied by 90%
- The second salary bracket extends from $791 to $4781/month, hence multiplied by 42%
- The third salary bracket extends above $4781 and is thus multiplied by a low 15%
So, the social security benefits you receive would be indicated by roughly how much the average wage you earned during most of your lifetime. The final benefits receivable would be the Primary Insurance Amount, PIA calculate by the sum of the salaries your wages fall into multiplied by the respective percentages under each bracket.