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2024 Disability Calculator: Estimate Your SSDI Benefit

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
March 19, 2024  ·  3 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

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Estimate your disability benefit amount in just a few steps

We'll use the Social Security Administration's formula to estimate your monthly benefit.

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Frequently asked questions about disability amounts

How does this Social Security benefits calculator work?

We use the same formula the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to calculate your total benefit payments amount – but we don’t have all the same tax data. Our calculator estimates your monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits amount based on the earnings you report to us — but without your wage history, and the exact amount you earned each year, we can’t guarantee 100% accuracy for the benefit estimates. 

That’s because your actual SSDI payment is based on your earnings record and the amount of Social Security taxes you paid over time. This gets complicated quickly: The SSA uses something called your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) to calculate your exact benefit amount. They "index" your earnings to account for inflation. For example, $100 earned 20 years ago is worth more than $100 in today’s dollars, and the SSA’s calculations adjust for this difference. 

We hope you use this benefits calculator as a rule-of-thumb estimate while financially planning for disability benefits. For the exact size of your potential SSDI check, we recommend creating a my Social Security account on SSA.gov. There, you can check your work credits, program eligibility, and application status, and calculate your Social Security income for retirement and monthly SSDI payments with the Social Security calculator.

How can I find my exact SSDI benefit amount? 

Create an SSA.gov account and scroll down to "More Benefits.” You’ll see your estimated check size if you apply for SSDI. As part of your Social Security disability benefits, you’ll also get access to Medicare after a two-year waiting period. 

We wrote up step-by-step instructions for creating your SSA.gov account here

What determines the amount of disability you get? 

Your monthly SSDI benefits amount is based on your work history. Your SSI benefits amount is based on your current income and assets. 

For SSDI, your payment is based on how much you’d previously paid into Social Security. The SSA will look at your average monthly earnings — adjusted for inflation — and use that to determine your monthly payment amount. Your SSDI amount is the same as your full retirement check would be. The average SSDI amount in 2024 is $1,537.

SSI is calculated differently. The SSA has a set payment standard, and your monthly check is equal to that payment standard, minus any other income. In 2024, the payment standard and maximum benefit amount is $943 a month. If SSI is your only source of income, that’s the amount you’ll receive. But if you receive SSI and $100 a month in SNAP benefits, you’ll receive $843 a month in SSI ($943 - $100 = $843). 

What is the formula for calculating SSDI?

To calculate SSDI, the SSA looks at your Average Indexed Monthly Wages (AIME) — and then breaks them into three separate slices. 

In 2024, the first slice covers your first $1,174 of earnings. The second covers earnings between $1,175 and $7,078. The third slice accounts for earnings above $6,721. 

To calculate your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), you’ll take: 

  • 90% of the first slice (your first $1,174 of AIME) PLUS

  • 32% of the second slice (any AIME between $1,175 and $7,078) PLUS

  • 15% of the third slice (any AIME over $7,078)

The SSA rounds down to the next-lowest $0.10 multiple. So if the calculation comes out to $1,358.32, your benefit check would be rounded down to $1,358.30.

How is SSI calculated? 

SSI is based on a payment standard adjusted by the SSA every year. In 2024, that payment standard is $943 a month. You’ll subtract any other income from the payment standard amount to get your SSI check size. 

If SSI is your only income, that’s the amount you’ll receive $943 a month. But if you receive SSI plus $100 a month in SNAP benefits, you’ll receive $843 a month in SSI ($943 - $100 = $843). 

How does SSDI calculate monthly earnings? 

The SSA will look at up to 35 years of earnings to calculate your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME). They’ll evaluate what you made for each year, adjust those wages for inflation, pick the years with the highest overall wages, and then divide that amount by the total number of months. 

This will be plugged into a formula to determine your PIA or Primary Insurance Amount. You can read more about that calculation here. 

What percentage of income is SSDI? 

Your SSDI amount is based on different “slices” of your prior income. To calculate your Primary Insurance Amount in 2024, you’ll take: 

  • 90% of the first slice (your first $1,174 of AIME) PLUS

  • 32% of the second slice (any AIME between $1,175 and $7,078) PLUS

  • 15% of the third slice (any AIME over $7,078)

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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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