What are Lifetime Earnings?
Lifetime earnings are the total accumulation of how much money you've earned throughout the entire time you've worked. This is important because the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use your lifetime earnings to calculate how much in Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) you are entitled to every month.
Your lifetime earnings could also be used to calculate how much in Social Security retirement benefits you are entitled to.
Why are Lifetime Earnings Important?
The higher you earn over your career, the higher you will earn from SSDI benefits. This is because taxpayers fund SSDI, and the more you contribute, the more you will earn if you become disabled.
For example, a worker who earned $50,000 per year over 30 years would make significantly less than someone who earned $120,000 per year over 30 years. Because there is a maximum SSDI benefit ($2,639 in 2016), payments will cap around $108,000.
Getting Help With Your Social Security Disability Claim
If you've worked all your life and have recently become disabled, you may be entitled to benefits. Be sure to speak with a Social Security disability advocate or attorney to get your application started and get on track for receiving the benefits you need.