How Much Does Disability Pay in 2023 and 2024?

The average monthly SSDI payment in 2023 was $1,489, but benefits depend on your income and other factors.
Whitney Vandiver
By Whitney Vandiver 
Updated
Edited by Tina Orem
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Nerdy takeaways
  • Disability benefits depend on your average income and other disability resources you already have.

  • The average disability payment varies by state.

  • You can still work while receiving disability, but you're limited in how much you can earn.

Nerdy takeaways
  • Disability benefits depend on your average income and other disability resources you already have.

  • The average disability payment varies by state.

  • You can still work while receiving disability, but you're limited in how much you can earn.

In October 2023, the average disability pay from Social Security was $1,665.14 per month

. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are largely based on how much Social Security tax you paid on previous earnings. The maximum monthly SSDI benefit is $3,822 in 2024.

Average monthly disability pay by state

Because cost of living varies by location and a beneficiary’s SSDI payment is determined by their lifetime earnings (among other things), the average SSDI monthly benefit varies by state. In 2022, Delaware had the highest average monthly SSDI payment at $1,599.97, and the District of Columbia had the lowest at $1,321.04

.

State

Average monthly benefit

Alabama

$1,454.98

Alaska

$1,473.09

Arizona

$1,542.92

Arkansas

$1,415.43

California

$1,524.99

Colorado

$1,497.71

Connecticut

$1,549.41

Delaware

$1,599.97

District of Columbia

$1,321.04

Florida

$1,521.74

Georgia

$1,485.38

Hawaii

$1,532.11

Idaho

$1,456.79

Illinois

$1,495.07

Indiana

$1,480.12

Iowa

$1,412.23

Kansas

$1,439.17

Kentucky

$1,446.53

Louisiana

$1,421.25

Maine

$1,395.33

Maryland

$1,542.21

Massachusetts

$1,493.30

Michigan

$1,508.94

Minnesota

$1,475.73

Mississippi

$1,416.49

Missouri

$1,441.07

Montana

$1,407.08

Nebraska

$1,391.82

Nevada

$1,562.44

New Hampshire

$1,528.42

New Jersey

$1,648.06

New Mexico

$1,398.19

New York

$1,540.57

North Carolina

$1,483.98

North Dakota

$1,388.96

Ohio

$1,422.89

Oklahoma

$1,423.04

Oregon

$1,459.64

Pennsylvania

$1,493.44

Rhode Island

$1,464.35

South Carolina

$1,512.46

South Dakota

$1,391.16

Tennessee

$1,446.63

Texas

$1,463.70

Utah

$1,473.63

Vermont

$1,398.34

Virginia

$1,497.40

Washington

$1,494.32

West Virginia

$1,465.15

Wisconsin

$1,460.01

Wyoming

$1,485.89

Source: Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2022

How disability pay is calculated

The SSA calculates SSDI using much of the same approach it uses to calculate retirement benefits, including measuring your average earnings from jobs at which you paid Social Security tax on your wages. The formula excludes income on which you did not pay Social Security tax

DisabilityHelpCenterNV.org. How Is Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI Calculated?. Accessed Nov 15, 2023.
.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The size of SSDI benefits does not depend on the severity of your disability, so waiting until your disability worsens to apply for SSDI does not increase your monthly benefit.

Once the Social Security Administration adjusts your past earnings for inflation and calculates the average of your 35 highest-earning years, it applies “bend point” percentages to certain portions of your average earnings. Each total for each bend point is added together to calculate your primary insurance amount (PIA).

The bend points for 2024 are 90% of the first $1,174, 32% of any amount between $1,174 and $7,078, and 15% of any amount above $7,078.

Your PIA is the amount you’ll receive each month if you qualify for SSDI benefits

SSA.gov. CFR  § 404.201. Accessed Nov 17, 2023.
. The PIA formula is designed to support payments to individuals with lower income over their lifetime.

Let’s say the SSA determines that the average of your inflation-indexed lifetime covered earnings (your average indexed monthly earnings, or AIME) is $2,280 a month. It applies the bend points to that number. For the first bend point, you’ll receive 90% of the first $1,115 of your covered earnings.

$1,115 x 90% = $1,003.50

For the second bend point, the Social Security Administration applies any amount between $1,115 and $6,721 by 32%.

$2,280 - $1,115 = $1,165 x 32% = $372.80

Because your AIME doesn’t exceed the third bend point threshold of $6,721, the SSA doesn’t apply it to your covered earnings. The SSA then adds the two amounts together to get your PIA.

$1,003.50 + $372.80 = $1,376.30

Your SSDI monthly benefit would be $1,376.30 before any deductions.

How much can you make while on Social Security Disability Insurance?

The substantial gainful activity limit for 2024 is $1,550 per month ($2,590 if blind). If you earn more than the limit, you won’t qualify for SSDI

.

Social Security Disability Insurance income limit

You can work while collecting SSDI benefits — the SSA actually encourages you to work if you are able and provides incentive programs to help you reenter the workforce without affecting your benefits. The SSDI income limit applies to your gross income, which is the amount you earn before taxes and deductions. For example, if your monthly wages in 2024 are $1,700 before taxes are withheld, you won’t qualify for benefits, even if you bring home an amount below $1,550 after taxes and deductions.

What counts against the income limit?

If you perform work that requires a good deal of physical or mental activity and is intended to earn or commonly earns money, it is considered substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Passive income, such as investment account dividends and retirement funds, are not counted as SGA.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you work in a sheltered workplace that provides work opportunities to people with severe or specific disabilities, you might qualify for a subsidy. If this is the case, your earnings might not count toward SGA if your monthly average wages are not more than the income limit.

If you are self-employed, the SSA will evaluate your SGA differently. You can find information about how it calculates your SGA in the SSA’s Red Book.

Work incentive programs

The SSA has work incentive programs to help SSDI beneficiaries test the waters with part-time work before returning full time without affecting their benefits. Together these programs are referred to as the Ticket to Work program. Each type of program offers different benefits and has different requirements.

If you decide to work while receiving SSDI benefits, contact the SSA to let them know that you’re working and learn about what information you’ll need to report each month.

Did you know...

The SSA applies its annual cost-of-living adjustment to disability pay automatically. This helps keep benefits on pace with inflation.

Other income that can lower your disability pay

The SSA might lower your monthly disability payment if you receive workers’ compensation for a job-related disability or public disability benefits for disabilities unrelated to your job, such as state-based disability

.

However, these benefits don’t decrease your SSDI benefits:

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Applying for SSDI benefits

You can apply for SSDI online, by phone or in person at your local SSA office. To apply over the phone, call 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are hard of hearing or deaf

.

To apply you’ll submit an application and a medical release form along with records of your diagnosis, information about your work history and proof of certain information such as identity and citizenship.

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