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Average Indexed Monthly Earnings

Chicago Lawyers for SSDI Claims

If you become disabled, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The amount of your SSDI benefit is derived from your covered earnings and how much income you paid Social Security taxes on before you became disabled. Average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) are utilized for calculation of the primary insurance amount. If you are concerned about how your SSDI benefits will be calculated, the experienced Chicago Social Security attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can guide you through the legal process. We represent disabled workers in the initial claims process, as well as through any appeals or challenges they face in seeking benefits.

Average Indexed Monthly Earnings

SSDI is the federal insurance program that gives benefits to qualified workers who can’t work. To be eligible for SSDI, you need to be insured under the program and live up to Social Security Administration’s definition of what a disability that’s eligible for benefits is. Your AIME and Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) are used to determine your SSDI benefits.

The formula used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is very complicated. Roughly, the SSA indexes or adjusts what you earned over a lifetime to account for wages going up during your work years. The method of indexing involves multiplication of the national average wage index with your taxable income. Once the years are indexed or adjusted to address inflation, they are added, and that sum is divided by how many years you worked between age 21 and the last year you were employed before you qualified for SSDI. That amount is divided by 12 to get the average indexed monthly earnings.

PIA is the base amount of the benefits to be paid. Your PIA is determined by looking at 3 fixed percentages of the AIME to decide the PIA. The dollar amounts arising from the calculation are considered bend points. These are shifted every year to reflect the national average wage index.

After you’re approved for benefits, a five-month waiting period begins. It starts at your disability onset date prior to you being paid benefits. In order to get the most back pay, your established onset date must be a minimum of 17 months before you apply or establish a protective filing date. The protective filing date is a date on which you make a written statement to the SSA. It’s established if you start an online application, even if you don’t finish the application process.

Workers’ compensation settlements can reduce your benefit amount by an offset. Each year, your SSDI benefits are also recalculated to adjust to the rising cost of living (COLA). The COLA amounts are evaluated according to Consumer Price Index increases.

Back Payment

The SSDI process can take some time. Oftentimes denials are issued on valid claims, which is why it can be important to hire an attorney to represent you. After you get your approval letter from the SSA, you will be eligible for back payments of benefits. The number of months of back payments you get depends on when you applied for SSDI and the established onset date, or the date the SSA deemed you disabled. How much back pay you get depends on how the AIME figures into the monthly benefit. You can also obtain a maximum of 12 months of retroactive payments for the year before the application date.

Hire a Skilled SSDI Claims Attorney in Chicago

If you’re concerned about the use of average indexed monthly earnings to calculate your SSDI benefits in Chicago, it’s important to discuss your situation with a seasoned Social Security lawyer. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we represent people in Champaign, Aurora, Rockford, and Quincy, as well as Adams, Sangamon, Winnebago, Cook, and Kane Counties. We examine a client’s situation closely to decide whether other types of relief are available. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.