How to Figure Social Security Disability Wages


If you are a U.S. citizen that pays social security taxes and become disabled, you are entitled to benefits. The social security wages, known more formally as Social Security Disability Insurances (SSDI) are a monthly payment based on your past taxable earnings. The formula used to calculate these benefits is quite complicated and relies on a number of factors. But if you follow the steps below, you can get a rough estimate of what your social security disability benefits would be.

Things You'll Need

  • Social Security statement
  • Past tax returns
  • National wage indexing series

Collect all of your annual earnings statements that were taxed by social security. This is listed in your social security statement.

Multiply each year's taxable earnings by the national wage indexing factor for that year. This factor can be found from the Social Security Administration website.

Add up your annual earnings adjusted to the national average wage index from the time you turned 21 to the time of your disability.

Divide that total by the number of years you have worked past the age of 21.

Divide by 12 and round down to the full dollar amount. This result is your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME.

Determine your primary insurance amount or PIA. The PIA is comprised of three percentages, or bend points, based on your AIME. For 2010, the first bend point is $761, the second is your AIME between $761 and $4,586, and the third is your AIME above $4,586. If your AIME is less than $4,586, subtract $761. If your AIME is above $4,586, subtract $4,586.

Take 90% of your AIME for your first $761. If your AIME is $761 or less, this figure is your estimated monthly social security disability wage. If your AIME is above $761, this figure is $684.90. This is your first portion.

Take 32 percent of your AIME between $761 and $4,586. If your AIME is above $761, but below $4,586, subtract $761 from your AIME and multiply by 32 percent. If your AIME is above $4,586, this figure is $1,224. This is your second portion.

Take 15 percent of your AIME above $4,586. If your AIME is above $4,586, subtract $4,586 and multiply by 15 percent. This is third portion.

Add the three portions together. The total is your expected monthly social security benefit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Depending on your work history, the Social Security Administration might throw out up to five of your lowest earning years in determining your average indexed monthly earnings. The Social Security Administration provides online calculators to help you in determining your disability benefits. Alternatively, you can call your local SSA office, and it will provide you with an estimate.
  • This should only be used as a guide. Only the Social Security Administration can determine your exact disability benefits. In addition, only the Social Security Administration can determine if your are disabled and eligible to receive benefits. It often takes six months before your can receive your disability benefits. If you become disabled, you should apply for benefits immediately.

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