Social Security Benefit Calculation
If a claimant has been approved for SSI, the monthly amount depends on household income and assets. Social Security takes into account earned and unearned income, mortgage or rent payments, and other income amounts in the same household. SSI has a maximum monthly amount of $674. (A Cost of Living Adjustment may apply each year.)
If a claimant has been approved for Disability (Title II), the maximum monthly amount is approximately $2000. The most a family can receive of SSI and disability combined is currently about $3300.
The back benefits (sometimes called Retro benefits or past due benefits) are more difficult to calculate. The back benefits basically reimburse you for the months you waited to be approved, and in some cases can go even further back.
In the case of SSI, the retro benefits can only go back to the Date of Filing, or the date you submitted your Initial Application.
In the case of Disability, the retro benefits have a five-month waiting period from the Onset Date. For example, if a claimant was found to be disabled as of January 1, she would not be eligible for disability back pay until May 1. The back pay then would extend from May 1 until the approval date. Also, with Disability (Title II), the back pay can only extend 12 months before the Date of Filing.
If a claimant has been approved for both SSI and Disability, the amounts will offset. This means that he or she will receive two Award Notices—one from Disability, and one from SSI. The amounts quoted on these notices reflect their own calculations and not the total amount that will be awarded. Social Security does not “double pay” benefits. For example, if SSI awards $500 and Disability awards $1000, the total amount sent will NOT be $1500. The total amount will be $1000 because the amounts offset. There may also be an offset if the claimant is receiving Workers Compensation benefits. Your disability representative can explain any offsets that may apply in your specific situation.