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How to Increase Social Security Disability Payments?

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If you have a disability, Social Security benefits can ease the burden of being unable to work. Although it may seem like you can't increase the amount of money you receive each month, that's not necessarily true.

As an attorney who has worked on several cases involving SSD payments, I have discovered that there are options available to increase SSD payments. Here are a few of them that you should know about.

Quick Summary

  • If you choose SSDI, you will not see an increase in your monthly benefits. 
  • Your retirement benefits will be smaller if you don't wait until your full retirement age.
  • If your income or financial resources have decreased, you might be eligible for SSI.

2 Types of Disability Benefits Programs

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If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your disability benefits are not likely to increase. Exceptions do exist, however, depending on the type of disability benefit you are receiving.

What Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are a needs-based program. The federal government determines the disability benefits you get. If you are single, you can receive an SSI payment of up to $750 per month from SSI in 2018 [1]

Depending on your situation, the government may reduce this monthly amount. For example, your monthly earnings may be less than the maximum if you live with someone.

What Are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits?

A lawyer using a tablet in an officeSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is a government-backed program that pays benefits to people with qualifying disabilities and limited income, a safety net of monthly earnings [2]

Suppose the Social Security Administration agrees with your SSDI eligibility. The amount of SSI you receive will depend on how much money you earn and how many taxes you pay into the system while working.

Therefore, if SSDI applicants made $80,000 a year, they would likely receive benefits more than those who only made $35,000 annually.

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6 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates SSDI payments based on your Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). As a result, here are 6 other ways to boost your social security disability payments.

1. Work for at Least 35 Years

To get the most money from Social Security, disabled individuals should work for at least 35 years. They will get a bigger Social Security payment if they have worked for more than 35 years. This is especially true if they make more money now than they did earlier in their career.

2. Work More

An office worker doing work on a laptop in an officeIf you apply for SSDI disability benefits, you won't see an increase in your monthly earnings. SSDI, on the other hand, will not provide higher earnings.

Social security beneficiaries who work while receiving them may have a better overall income as a result of these earnings.

The trial work period is one of the work advantages accessible to SSI beneficiaries through the Social Security Administration.

3. Work Until Your Full Retirement Age

Though you can begin collecting Social Security payments at 62, if you wait until your full retirement age to sign up, you will receive larger monthly payments [3].

4. Claim Spousal Payments

If you are married, you can take steps to get the most out of your SSD benefits. You can claim benefits based on your work record or up to 50% of the higher earner's benefit, whichever is higher.

5. Minimize Social Security Taxes

You might have to pay taxes on the part of your Social Security income in retirement. This happens if your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of your Social Security benefit are more than $25,000 for individuals and $32,000 for couples.

6. Past Military Service

A military veteran on the streetsIf any of the following criteria apply to you, then you may automatically qualify to receive extra benefits from the Veterans Health Administration (VA):

  • Be a veteran of the United States military
  • If you are receiving SSI or SSDI benefits 
  • Experience a loss of income or resources in your life


"If you work while receiving SSI, you may do so as long as your earnings and other income exceeds SSI income limits for your state."
- Vaughn Clauson, Social Security Disability Federal Court Attorney 


Can You Earn Any Income While Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

Yes, you can earn any income while receiving social security disability benefits. Although you have a few alternatives to boost your SSDI payments, you could still make some money independently from them.

What Effect Does VA Benefits Have On SSDI and SSI?

The effect that VA benefits have on SSDI and SSI is that they reduce the amount of SSDI or SSI you are eligible for. The way that VA benefits work is that it reduces your SSDI or SSI payments dollar-for-dollar.

How to Find Out the Full Amount of Your SSDI Benefits?

To find out the full amount of your SSDI benefits, check your social security statement and use a Social Security calculator to get an estimate of the amount of your disability pay.

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Get Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement

If you were injured at work and couldn't go back to work, you may have applied for and received SSDI benefits. If you settle your disability claim without having the correct language in the settlement papers, it could mean a limit on the amount of SSDI benefits you can receive.

Before settling your workers' compensation case, you should consult a Social Security Disability lawyer to know your options. Contact Schmidt & Clark for a free consultation with a team of qualified attorneys who know the system's ins and outs and how the SSA handles claims. 



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