The current maximum Social Security disability benefit, when we are talking about benefits based upon one’s own earnings, is $2,346/month in 2011. However, the minor children of a person receiving Social Security disability benefits are also usually entitled to benefits. These benefits are subject to a Family Maximum that is one and a half times what the primary wage-earner receives. The Family Maximum is computed differently when we are talking about retirement cases; thus, if a person received the maximum $2,346 benefit and had one minor child, the total family benefit would be $3,519.
The other major type of Social Security benefit is Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is for low income people whether or not they have worked. There is a different maximum Social Security disability benefit for SSI, which is a set fixed amount of $674/month. Some states, but not North Carolina, supplement that. The SSI benefit is subject to reduction if a person is receiving other income, including gifts, even a “gift” in the form of free room and board.
In the end, if you are disabled, the maximum Social Security disability benefit matters little. You probably won’t get the maximum anyway. Even if the benefit is much less than the maximum, it is far better than nothing. A check that you don’t think you can live on is better than no check at all.