Disability Benefits: The Numbers Tell the Story

A young woman uses the computer.Social Security provides an economic lifeline to America’s workers through our benefit programs. We run the largest disability program in the nation. We want to make sure that everyone has a clear picture of the disability insurance program and of the people living with severe disabilities, who receive its benefits.

Because the Social Security Act sets out a strict definition of disability, our beneficiaries are among the most severely disabled people in the country. We provide modest benefit payments to workers who contributed into the Social Security trust fund before becoming disabled. The average disability beneficiary today paid into the disability trust fund for 22 years before becoming entitled to Social Security disability benefits.

When disability happens, Social Security provides support for insured workers and their families. For many disabled Americans, this earned benefit is the only thing standing between them and poverty.

To create awareness about the positive economic impact of our disability program, Social Security is releasing two new online data resources — our new state disability fact sheets and our national disability issue paper. These two online resources show how Social Security continues to fulfill our intergenerational promise of support to America’s workers and their families.

The state disability fact sheets include information by state and congressional district about disabled workers, children of insured workers, and spouses of insured workers who are receiving disability benefits. They also show the average annual disability benefit in relation to the poverty threshold, as well as more specific data about the recipients in those areas.

The national disability issue paper describes the fundamental principles of our disability program, its economic impact, and how it continues to live up to its founding ideals.

We invite you to go to our website and try these useful new resources.

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234 thoughts on “Disability Benefits: The Numbers Tell the Story

    • We are sorry for your loss, Mary. Please keep in mind, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to qualified individuals who have limited income and resources. We have strict guidelines that apply to individuals receiving benefits under the SSI program.
      We conduct “redeterminations” periodically to identify SSI recipients who –at any time- are potentially eligible for any or other Social Security benefits on their own record and the records of others. This includes benefits as a widow’s or surviving divorced spouse. Some individuals may still be eligible to receive both benefits, if they have low income and limited resources.
      If an SSI recipient qualifies for additional benefits, he or she is required to apply for those benefits as soon as they’re eligible. Failure to apply for additional benefits will result in suspension or termination of their SSI benefits.
      Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for further assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  1. What amount is January going to show us. I thought that Obama was going to help us. I have never been so scared up by other prev. I hopped up in my life. But, as President Trump has told Everyone truth. THANK YOU VERY MUCH’ , AND GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS. I HAVE BEEN A DEMOCRAT EVER SINCE MY HUSBANDS COUSIN FIRST WAS ELEECTED. THANKS

  2. My name is Kennon Towers Mecham and I have breast cancer and want to apply for SSDI. Do I have enough work history to qualify for this program? My social security number is *** – ** – *** and my address is Wilsonville Road, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070. My mother’s maiden name is Kathy and I was born in Oregon. Thanks.

    • Hello Kennon. When it comes to qualifying for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI program, individuals must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits.
      Generally, you need 40 credits, 20 of which you have to earn within the last 10 years before you become disabled.
      You can get your personal Social Security Statement online by creating your personal my Social Security account. Your online Statement gives you secure and convenient access to your earnings records.
      If you have specific questions about your situation, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask one of our representatives to assist you. Thanks!

  3. MY SONS ADHA IS ONE MAJOR ISSUE DO TO HIS DIRUPTIVE BEHAVOR IN SCHOOL AS WELL AS AT HOME HES BEEN SUSSPENED 15 TIMES PLUS LAST YEAR WITCH HAD INTERFERD WITH MY ABILTY TO STAY WORKING ALSO I HAD JUST GOTTEN CUSTUDY BAC FROM BEING ABSENT 4YRS OF HIS LIFE SO DO TO EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS WITH HAVING ADHA CAN I RECIVE SSDI?

  4. This is a question, not a comment.Can I as a 77 year old that became disabled last year increase my monthly benefits to equal the disabled rate?
    I have Parkinson’s disease.

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