What Disability Benefits Will I Get?

Part 8 of a Series on Disability Benefits for Mental Health Disorders

man in a wheelchair considering his disability benefits
What benefits will you receive when you apply for disability?. Compassionate Eye Foundation / Dan Kenyon / Getty images

Disability Benefits Part 8 (Final Step) - What Disability Benefits Can You Receive?

Continuing on in our discussion of disability benefits (see the list of articles below) is a important question that always arises. What will be the value of your benefits if your application is successful? What is the dollar amount you can expect to be paid monthly? What medical coverage will you receive? Are there any other services that will be available?

Given the cost in time and frustration, is the return worth the investment? The answer to these questions will greatly depend on your specific circumstances.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The amount of disability benefits you will receive for SSDI is based on the average earnings you’ve had throughout your life. It does not take into account how severe your disability happens to be, or your household income. In 2016, the average disability was $1,166 a month with a maximum disability benefit of $2,639 a month. You can review your income history in the Social Security Statement you receive each year or you can contact the Social Security Administration for this information. Members of your family (spouse and children) may also be eligible for benefits. After you’ve received disability benefits for two years, you will be eligible for Medicare.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you meet the medical qualifications for disability, but you do not meet the income requirements, you should be eligible for SSI, which makes monthly payments to people who have low incomes and few resources.

The monthly SSI disability benefits payments vary considerably based on your income and the laws in your state.

Some additional disability benefits such as social services and food stamps are available in some states for those who receive SSI. Your local social security office can provide details about what services are available to you; they may include things such as housekeeping assistance and transportation.

Generally those who qualify for SSI also qualify for food stamps, but you will need to complete an application.


In the majority of states, Medicaid is available to those who qualify for SSI. You will again be required to file an additional application. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid benefits begin at the same time as disability benefits. Additionally, a number of states will pay your Medicare premium when you become eligible for that service.

Understanding Disability Benefits – The Series

When considering disability benefits it's most helpful to read through this entire series in order to understand the process in depth. You may have questions from this list you wish to have answered right away, but please return later to learn about other concerns and questions. Many people are discouraged when they run into delays in the process due to skipping or overlooking one of these important questions.

  1. I Can’t Hold a Job! What Do I Do? – Introduction to disability benefits for people with mental and physical health conditions.
  2. What is Disability?- This article describes the broad definition of what is meant by a disability.
  3. Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits? - This article explains in more detail what is required to qualify for disability benefits. In order to qualify you must take into account how severe your condition is and whether or not you are able to do your current job or another job within the confines of your disability.
  1. Is Bipolar Disorder a Qualified Condition for Disability Benefits?- When and how can people with bipolar disorder specifically qualify for disability?
  2. How Do I Start My Disability Application? - If you believe you may be qualified for disability due to a physical or mental health condition, what is the next step? Where do you begin?
  3. What Information and Paperwork Do I Need? - Forms, forms, and more forms. What forms are you required to fill out and what documents will you need to locate to complete the application process?
  4. How Long Will It Take to Get Disability Benefits? - Once you have completed all of the forms and provided all necessary documentation, how long does it usually take to hear if you qualify?

    Next Steps

    Disability benefits can be confusing even when you're feeling your best. Ask a friend or family member to help you to navigate this process, or find someone in your community or support group who can lend a hand and share your frustrations. There may be times when it feels like it is almost impossible to get there, but many people manage to make it through the system and get the support they need.

    After going through this series you likely have many more questions. You may wish to start with these answers to 61 questions about social security disability services.

    And as a reminder that taking the time to navigate this process is worth it, check out these 5 advantages of qualifying for SSDI.


    Social Security Administration. Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits. 05/30/16. http://blog.ssa.gov/applying-for-social-security-disability-benefits/