How Much Does Mental Health Disability Pay?


The financial stress of being unable to work only adds to the challenges faced by someone with a mental health disability. If you or a loved one struggles with a mental health impairment, financial assistance is available through two federal programs: Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. The Social Security Administration administers SSDI. The SSI program is jointly administered and funded by the SSA and state governments.

An important question on the minds of people relying on mental health disability benefits to make ends meet is: How much does mental health disability pay? Here to help you answer that question is an explanation of disability benefits through SSI and SSDI and how much each program pays for mental health disability in 2024.

SSI Mental Health Disability Pay In 2024

The SSI program focuses on helping people who are blind, disabled, or 65 or older pay for food and shelter. If you qualify for SSI benefits, you receive a monthly payment and, if you meet your state’s eligibility requirements, Medicaid to pay for medical care.

SSI benefits are restricted to people with little or no income and resources valued at no more than $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for an eligible couple. You must meet the medical requirement by having a medically determinable physical or mental health impairment that makes you unable to do substantial gainful activities. The impairment or a combination of impairments must exist or be expected to exist for at least 12 months or cause death.

If you meet the financial and medical requirements for eligibility, SSI pays a maximum federal payment each month of $943 for individuals and $1,415 for an individual with a spouse who qualifies for SSI benefits. These are the 2024 monthly benefits. The amounts may change each year because of cost-of-living adjustments.

You could receive more each month than just the $943 for individuals and $1,415 for couples. Unless you live in one of the following states, you may qualify for a state supplement in addition to the federal benefit:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

You could receive less each month if you have earned or unearned income from sources other than SSI. However, even if you have other income, the good news is that all of it may not count toward reducing your federal SSI benefits.

For example, SSI allows you to exclude the following from your monthly income:

  • The first $20 of unearned income each month. You may apply the exclusion to earned income if you do not have unearned income and have not used the exclusion.
  • The first $65 of earned income.
  • One-half of the balance of earned income after application of the $65 exclusion and, perhaps, the $20 one.

If you have a part-time job earning $475 during the month. Applying the $65 exclusion leaves a balance of $410. The $20 exclusion reduces the income to $390. One-half of $390 leaves $195 as the countable earned income. Your SSI payment for the month would be $748.

How does SSDI work?

There are several differences between SSDI and SSI. One of them is that you must have a work history to be eligible for SSDI benefits. SSDI is part of the Social Security system, so you must have worked long enough at jobs where you paid Social Security taxes. As with the SSI program, you must have a medically determinable mental health impairment and meet the exact definition of disability to qualify for SSDI benefits.

How Much Does A Mental Health Disability Pay On SSDI?

Social Security uses a complicated formula to determine how much to pay you each month in SSDI benefits. It’s based on your earnings, so there is no set amount as there is with SSI. However, according to the SSA, the average SSDI monthly benefit in 2024 is $1,537. The maximum benefit in 2024 is $3,822.

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Eric Lilly
the authorEric Lilly