The answer to this question depends on many factors – most importantly, it depends on how much you paid in Social Security taxes on your earnings over your career.
The best place to find an estimate of your monthly benefit would be to download your personal Social Security Statement. You may recognize the form on the right as the green form you used to get in the mail every year around your birthday from the Social Security Administration. You have not received this in the last couple of years because of budget cuts. It cost the SSA lots of money to print and mail the forms. However, now you can go to the SSA website and download a copy of Your Social Security Statement:
Simply go to http://www.ssa.gov/
Click on the first link/image that says “My Social Security”. [Note: On lower right side you will see the familiar old green form titled “Social Security Statement”.]
Click “Create an Account”.
Follow the steps to verify your identity and create an account.
Once you have verified your identity, you will be given the opportunity to download your Statement. The second page of the form has a line that tells you how much you would receive if you are found disabled and how you are eligible to receive in retirement per month.
Am I Entitled to Back Pay?
How Far Back Will My Benefits Go?
Your benefits begin the later of (a) 12 months before the date of application or (b) five full months after the date you were found to be disabled. This is the “date of entitlement” in your case. Many people ask why benefits don’t begin on the date they were found disabled. Social security disability benefits never begin on the date one is found disabled because of the waiting period of five full calendar months. Another rule limits payment of back benefits to 12 months before the date of the application.
If you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income or SSI benefits, Social Security will pay SSI from the first of the month after a claimant meets all requirements to get SSI. These requirements are:
(1) you file an application,
(2) you are disabled,and
(3) you meet the income and asset requirements of the program.
Your SSI benefits may also change beginning the first month you are eligible for Disability Insurance Benefits.
Can My Social Security Disability Be Garnished?
There are a number of circumstances in which the Federal government can garnish “regular” Social Security benefits (See below, SSI benefits can never be garnished). They include:
- To enforce child support or alimony obligations under Section 459 of the Social Security Act;
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can levy against benefits to collect unpaid Federal taxes according to Section 6334(c) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- IRS can collect taxes due by levying up to 15 percent of a monthly benefit until the debt is paid;
- IRS allows beneficiaries to have a portion of their check withheld to satisfy a current year Federal income tax liability according to Section 3402 (P) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Other Federal agencies can collect money from benefits to pay a non-tax debt owed to that agency according to the Debt Collection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134); and
- Under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act, certain civil penalties provide the right to garnish benefits under 18 USC 3613.
Can A Creditor Garnish My Social Security Disability Check?
Who is the creditor? If it is anyone other than the Federal Government, then the answer is “No.” If a creditor other than the federal government tries to garnish your Social Security benefits, inform them that such an action violates Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407).
Section 207 bars garnishment of your benefits. It can also be used as a defense if your benefits are incorrectly garnished. Social Security’s responsibility for protecting benefits against garnishment, assignments and other legal processes usually ends when you are paid. However, once paid, benefits continue to be protected under section 207 of Act as long as they are identifiable as Social Security benefits.
NOTE: Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, payments cannot be levied or garnished.
Do I Have To Pay Income Tax on Social Security Disability Benefits?
The answer is, “It depends.” You must pay federal income taxes on your Social Security disability benefits if either of the two following situations applies to you.
- You file an individual federal tax return and your total income is greater than $25,000. Or,
- You file a joint return and the income of you and your spouse is greater than $32,000.
You should also refer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Notice 703 on the back of your Social Security Benefit Statement, Form 1099, to determine if any of your benefits are taxable. A copy of Notice 703 may be found by clicking this link: Notice 703.
Further note that the above only references federal income tax. Social Security does not have the authority to withhold state or local taxes from your disability benefits. However, many states and local authorities do not tax Social Security benefits. You should consult with your tax advisor and your state or local taxing authority for additional information.