Why are my disability benefits so low?
Why are my benefits so low .
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are based on your average earnings and your payroll tax contribution to Social Security. The more you have paid into Social Security, the more in monthly benefits you may be entitled to. There is not a set amount. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance you can review your Statement of Earnings which is sent to you each year by the Social Security Administration for an estimated payment amount. You can also contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 for specific information.
If you do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance but you qualify for Supplemental Security Income the maximum you can receive is based on the annual Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). For 2012, the Federal Benefit Rate is $698 per month for an individual and $1,048 per month for a couple. That means the most you can receive individually from the Federal Government on SSI is $698 per month. Some states, however, will add what they call a “state supplemental payment” which may make your payment higher in certain states.
Now to answer your question...if your SSDI benefit is low it is because you did not contribute much into the system over your work life. If your SSI is lower than the FBR it could because you or your wife have other types of income that are lowering the amount of SSI you are entitled to receive.