As of 2011, the average monthly Social Security disability check was $1,063.The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to you if you have a medical condition lasting longer than 12 months and have accumulated 40 work credits. You earn work credits for every $1,120 earned per year; four can be earned annually. There are several factors that reduce the amount of your benefit checks. Such factors include income from other disability sources, dividends from stocks and taxation.
Your Social Security disability benefits are based on your history of earnings covered by Social Security. Each year your disability benefit amounts are calculated by the Social Security Administration. You are notified via mail with a Social Security statement of the amount of disability benefits you’re entitled to if you become disabled.
One of the factors that reduces your Social Security disability benefits is if you’re receiving income payments from public sources such as workers compensation or a state-sponsored temporary disability plan. If your combined disability benefit amounts exceed 80 percent of your predisability salary, your Social Security disability benefits are reduced dollar for dollar.
The Social Security Administration provides work incentives that allow you to receive full disability benefits while you attempt to return to work. You are given a trial period as well as an extended period of eligibility that last five years and 36 months, respectively. During this time, you are able to work and maintain your disability eligibility status. However, you are not paid disability benefits during months in which you have earnings exceeding $1,000, or $1,640 if you’re blind.
The Internal Revenue Service taxes your Social Security disability benefits at normal income tax rates if your annual income includes work earnings, dividends and other taxable compensation. Up to 50 percent of your Social Security disability benefits are subject to taxation if your income tops $25,000 per year, and up to 85 percent if it is over $34,000. If you are married, up to 50 percent of your Social Security disability benefits are taxed if your combined household incomes surpasses $32,000, and up to 85 percent is taxed if it exceeds $44,000 per year.
The Social Security Administration distributes disability benefits to your family, as well. Each eligible family member receives payments up to 50 percent of your full benefit rate. However, collectively, their payments cannot exceed 80 percent. Your ex-spouse is entitled to the same benefit amounts paid to your current spouse. Disability payments to your former spouse don’t count toward your current family’s maximum total.