How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated?

Social Security is one of the largest social programs in the country, and it safeguards a significant portion of the working population from poverty, if they can no longer work. However, Social Security is only a safety net meant to catch you if you slip, so it can be critical to know how benefits are calculated so you can properly manage your finances if you should ever need SSDI or SSI. 

How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated? 

The first step to calculating your Social Security benefits is knowing if you even qualify for benefits. For SSI, your income will determine if you get benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine your income, subtract income that isn’t a part of your countable income, and then subtract your earned income from the SSI benefit rate. So, if you depend on SSI, it is important to budget not only your spending but how much you earn. 

If you qualify for SSDI, then your benefits will be determined by how much you have paid into the system. The amount you have paid in Social Security taxes—covered earnings—is factored into a complex formula involving your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME), fixed percentages and several points where those percentages change. For example, if you earn $996 or less per month, 90 percent of your AIME will be added to your primary insurance amount (PIA), 32 percent will be added if you make more than $996 but less than $6,002, and so on. These bend points are updated by the SSA every year, so it is a good idea to check them regularly. Also, having private disability benefits can also reduce how much you receive from the SSA, so keeping track of that is also key when you are making a monthly budget. Knowing these facts is important to living day-to-day on your benefits check. 

How a Tulsa Disability Attorney Can Help 

At Troutman & Troutman, P.C., we help Oklahomans with disabilities get the benefits they need. Our experience helps you fill out your paperwork properly, and gather the most effective evidence for your claim. The earlier we are involved in your disability benefits application, the more beneficial our work becomes. To learn even more, call us at (918) 265-1404 or fill out our online contact form.


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    They did a fantastic job getting everything gathered up and getting the trial done as quickly as possible. Anytime I had a question they were patient and help me understand what was going on. Especially Christy and Charlie were great.

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    Steve Troutman was able to get my short-term and long-term disability for me. Then Erin another lawyer for their firm got my Social security disability for me. Great people.

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    - Valerie W.

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