How Aster Figured Out How Much Actual Benefits He Would Actually Get

Artwork: Robin Mead

When I called and asked about my Social Security disability, they kept telling me different numbers.

One person said $900, one said $1100, another said $980 and another said $1500.

When you are talking about a lifelong source of income. . . the difference between $900 per month and $1500 per month is staggering.

Finally I went online and figured it out myself.

🌷 First I created an online Social Security account.

🌷 Next I printed out my earnings record from the account.

🌷 Then I went to the page for SSA Online Calculators

🌷 The simple online calculator said $1470 per month.

🌷 I wanted to be sure, so I downloaded the detailed calculator, read the instructions, and entered all my information. The detailed calculator has to be downloaded and it takes twenty minutes to figure out how to use it.

🌷 The detailed calculator said $1522.

Well, today I got my award letter. . . Lo and behold, it is $1522!!!

Sooooo worth it.


🌷 The online calculator will only tell you about SSDI. It will not tell you about other forms of disability and it will not tell you about SSI. It also will not tell you about other disability programs (veterans, state cash assistance, widow’s benefits, state temporary disability, etc) If you want to learn more about what else you are eligible for, check out: How High Will My Disability Check Be?

🌷 SSI and SSDI are two separate programs. If you don’t know the difference, and wish you did, look here: How to Understand the Difference Between SSI and SSDI Without Making Your Head Explode

🌷 For SSDI, after you have figured out your total, be sure to add in extra for your kids (even if they don’t live with you). Your kids (and in some cases your spouse) will be eligible for dependent benefits if you sign them up. The formula for dependent benefits is impossibly complicated. In most cases it works out to be an amount equal to 50% of your check. It is the same amount regardless of number of children. For example: Your check is $1,000, dependent benefits are $500, total check is $1,500.

🌷 You may wish to check your earnings record. Make sure Social Security has an accurate record of your past earnings. If anything is missing or inaccurate, you may be able to correct it. If something is missing, you may get a check that is too low! Every month. For the rest of your life.

🌷 If you have not worked in the past few years, you should also check your date last insured.

🌷 Have you been told something weird by someone who works at Social Security? How to Respond When You are Told Weird, Funny, Random, Disappointing or Untrue Things

Updated February 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: 

1 thought on “How Aster Figured Out How Much Actual Benefits He Would Actually Get”

  1. Some of these numbers are on the annual SS statements people are sent. There is a section that lists these numbers. I don’t know if they are correct, but they are there.


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