Blind man petting a service dog

Have you already applied for SSDI? Perhaps you are battling a disability and trying to determine your best path forward. Either way, you likely want to know how much you can earn on SSDI. The American Disability Action Group can help you find answers.

What is the Max SSDI Benefit in 2023?

You may or may not already know this, but SSDI numbers—including the max benefit amount—change almost every year. We’ll talk more about that in a minute though. After recent SSDI increases, the current max benefit amount in 2023 is $3,677.

What Are SSDI Payments Based on?

The formulas that determine your monthly SSDI payment amount are actually a bit complicated. The Social Security Administration or SSA looks at your work history to begin the calculation. Specifically, they will be looking at your highest earning years—adjusted for inflation—and determine your average monthly income for those years. The number of years the SSA looks at will vary depending on how long you worked before you became disabled.

Once that average monthly number is determined, the SSA will run that number through a tiered equation that works a little bit like income tax brackets. The brackets change year to year with the max payment amount. With 2023 numbers, it takes 90% of your average is up to $1,115, then 32% of any amount of your average above $1,115 but below $6,721, and then 15% of anything above that up to the maximum.

As an example, if you made an average of $5,000 per month you wouldn’t hit the last bracket, but you’d hit the first two. That would work out like this:

$1,115 X 90% = $1,003.5
($5,000 – $1,115) X 32% = $1,243.2

3 Things Veterans Need to Know About SSDI Benefits

What Makes the Max SSDI Amount Increase?

Older couple looking over budgets

Every year, SSDI can increase automatically and it’s essentially based on inflation. Specifically, it’s based on consumer price indexes. If we have a year with high inflation—as we did in 2022—then SSDI will increase by a similar amount in the following year. This works the same for Social Security retirement benefits, SSI, and VA benefits.

This increase is called a cost of living adjustment, which is often shortened to COLA. It’s worth mentioning that the increase can never be a negative amount. In other words, if there is deflation in one year, the following year will not see a decrease in benefits.

The COLA is determined in October every year but isn’t reflected until January of the following year. In 2023, because of the high inflation last year, we actually saw the highest COLA increase in decades at 8.7% which should be reflected automatically on all benefits checks starting in January.

Read More: Will You Still Be Able To Get a Tax Refund on Disability?

Need Help Getting Approved For SSDI Benefits?

If you are struggling to get approved for SSDI benefits and facing denial letters, don’t let that get you down. In reality, most SSDI claims are denied the first time around. This is when it is often helpful to get an SSDI lawyer on your side. The attorneys at the American Disability Action Group are ready to help, and we only get paid if you win. There’s no risk to you and our consultations are free. Reach out to us today!