I just learned that a friend receives a larger Social Security disability benefit check than I do. Why is my check smaller?

It is difficult to answer your question without knowing all of the facts surrounding both your application for Social Security disability benefits and your friend’s application. However, everybody’s determination of benefits is individualized, and it is unlikely that you would get exactly the same benefits as someone else.

Here’s Why

Those who qualify for Social Security disability benefits must be totally disabled, but they will not necessarily receive the same benefits. You and your friend could receive different benefits—even if you both live in the same town and you both suffer from the same disabling condition.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines the value of Social Security disability benefits based on:

  • Your age
  • How much you worked in recent years. The requirements for this depend on your age.
  • How much you’ve worked and contributed to Social Security over your lifetime

Your age and work history determine how many work credits you have accumulated. If you have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security disability, the amount of your check will be based on the amount that you have contributed to the Social Security system up to a maximum amount set by law. In 2017, the maximum Social Security disability payment was $2,687 per month and the average payment was $1,171 per month.

These rules apply equally to everyone, but the amount that each person recovers is individualized as described above.

Did this article help you understand why benefit payments are different for different people? If so, please share it with your Facebook friends. And if you are totally disabled and ready to apply for Social Security disability benefits, be sure to watch some of our informative, free videos to learn more about the application process. Then, when you are ready to get started, contact our office to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our compassionate and experienced attorneys.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law