Disability Insurance (DI) Facts

December 7, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 1 Minute

Last Updated: December 7, 2016

Social Security disability payments are modest, but they keep some families financially afloat.

disability facts



See Comments

About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Julie

    First I want to say that just because you can not SEE a disability does NOT mean they are not disabled. Stop saying they are a drain on society. Mental illness in this country is pretty high. Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness too….trust me it is very real! As far as the high amount of people being on disabilities you do realize we are the baby boomer generation…..yes there are many of us. So before you place dr without a license you may wanna take into consideration what you truly know about disability. You also do know that you have to be seen by a Dr paid for and working on the behalf of Social Security. Please learn instead of spewing bs. Blessed Be

    • Malissa B.

      Thank goodness for you. I am constantly bewildered by people who think this an easy process and benefit hugely. My disability was taken away 4 years ago because someone said I was working. I was not, and there was no proof. They just took it. It took me four years of stress, testing and terrible people to get it back even though I am a 100% disabled veteran. Live your own life people. You can destroy someones life that is already difficult enough. I highly doubt people can fool this system. I have numerous doctors behind me, but still had a rough time, terrible tests, accusations, and tears.

      • misery c.

        Have you gotten your disability benefits back? I pray that you did or will SOON!

      • Marc P.

        Yes, rotten, mean-spirited, nosy people with miserable little lives do have a way of destroying everyone around them in order to make themselves feel bigger. Disgusting. I am truly sorry that happened to you. I hope the person or persons who filed that false report that caused you so much grief gets pancreatic cancer and suffers terribly before dying a truly horrible death.

      • M

        That is so very sad,my heart truly goes out to you Melissa

    • Fred

      I have PTSD/Anxiety/Depression
      and other thigns form military I done 21 years service but don’t get nothing form it

      • D.H. F.

        You would qualify, but you have to actually apply for it. If you were in the military, I’d suggest speaking with someone at your area VA center, and that person can assist you.

      • Steven B.

        Do not feel bad. I did my 20 years in the Army hence retired as an SFC (E-7) in 2006. Took me 3 years just to get my SSDI, and then almost 12 years and still waiting for my 100% status currently 80% VA service disabled. My service connected disabilities include bad feet, bad knees, bad ankles, calf muscle injuries, and back lower back aka sciatica. Still had to fight tooth and nail to get my SSDI until an Admin Law Judge saw my file and apologized that the SSA messed over a veteran hence granted my claim. The VA is a complete joke as well. The motto “Deny, Delay, and Wait to Die” is strong in the VA.

    • jane

      wow I agree with you . no one really knows what a person is going through until they walk in their shoes. some disabilities don’t show either. thank u for sharing that too.

      • vjones

        I have no feet to put in anyone’s shoes. I am not diabetic. The ADA kept my job open for me and the state of MD paid to have a van with a wheelchair ramp and hand controls si i can drive. My health insurance paid for a $30,000 wheelchair to get around. If you know how to work with benefits that are available you can work an not have to apply for SSDI. The problem is no one tells you where to get the help that is available. I fight hard to keep myself mobile and employed. I could not live off of what SSDI would pay me each month. I fight hard every day to get out of bed, get ready for work, find a Handicap parking spot to let down a ramp so i can get out and continue to work. Some times you have to fight yourself and the rest of the world just to stay alive. My disability is just another hurdle I have to overcome. I don’t want any praise for not drawing SSDI, I want people to look in the mirror and stop saying why can’t I get SSDI if there are other options. It upsets me every time a non disabled person parks in a handicap spot with a placard hanging on the rear view mirror. I also know of people that were too sick to work for a period of time, but got used to not working and continue to receive benefits rather than looking for a job. Or they work under the table and get a check each month. As long as I am able I will continue to be an able bodied person. Thanks for letting me vent

    • Judith

      We don't see the collection very well but when I look at the girl with the white layers it really looks amateurisch and very DIY. Doesn't look very spectacular and special. But I must say the black collection looks more sodiisthcatep. Hopefully I'll change my mind when I'll see your white denim jacket!

      • M


  2. Heather

    I have an aunt who is legally blind because of genetics and worked her whole life and qualifies for nothing, not welfare, not disability, nothing. Then I worked for a company who employed someone who was I found out was “partially disabled” aka had “bad knees” but was doing those American ninja challenges and training for it. He collected enough money in disability benefits that it was more than I was making working fulltime at that company. sounds fair right? I’m all for helping those truly in need but there needs to be some reform, lots of abuse going on in these systems which makes it hard for those truly in need to get the help they need. the picture tells me the same thing, lots of abuse going on.

    • John

      True there are those scamming the system but someone scamming the system does dot make it harder for someone else to be approved

    • Marc P.

      FALSE. it is incredibly difficult to prove disability that qualifies one for SSDI. Again, you do not know all the facts. How do you know this person isn’t collecting disability benefits from a PRIVATE insurance policy he had? You people make me physically ill. Judgmental much?

      • Steven B.

        Not true. In Colorado 4 doctors were busted by the state for helping pot smokers get disability SSI by issuing fake disabilities for the purposes of defrauding the government. It starts by getting a quack doctor and $200 to get the paperwork then getting a pot “red card” to get “medical pot”. Then onto the SSA office to file for SSI with same paperwork. Mind you these folks ARE NOT disabled just deadbeat pot smokers who are just moochers on my tax $$$. The bums can work if only they can pass the drug test for employment. Pot smpkers from across the country are coming here for the welfare for pot program that the Dems will not stop. I took the evidence to the SSA office located on 8000 South Park Lane, Littleton, CO. 80120. They told me they know of the situation, but did not have the resources under Obama to investigate all the fraudsters in Colorado. So, this tells me there are many in Colorado smoking pot on welfare that is costing us clean and sober hard working taxpayers $$$ to support these deadbeats smoking pot. Maybe, when Trump takes office will stop this abuse. I will submit my evidence to his people to hunt down and kick theses dead beats off the welfare rolls hence save poor hard working taxpayers from this injustice. This is not some “FAKE NEWS” story. Just Google “Welfare used to buy pot”, “Colorado bust 4 doctors falsifying disabilities for pot smokers”, “Dems block Welfare Reform “Welfare for families in Need Not Weed””. Here is hoping Trump cleans up the welfare rolls esp. in Colorado.

        Lastly, what is sad disabled veterans like myself have to wait years for our earned bennies sometimes die waiting. But, out of state pot smokers come to Colorado can get welfare (SSI) in less than a year. Sad state for veterans.

    • D.H. F.

      Actual welfare aid ended 20 years ago. There’s only TANF, a short-term, marginally subsidized work program, only for those with children. Those who are blind do qualify for disability benefits. You are clearly misinformed about the man receiving full disability benefits while working and, in fact, not having a legitimate disability. A knee problem would not qualify a person for benefits, as they would still be able to engage in gainful employment, provided with modifications (i.e., a job that enabled him to sit, etc.).

      • Steven B.

        Wrong. SSI is still considered welfare. You have SSI for those that are over 65 years of age, and for those deemed totally disabled under age 65. Welfare is still alive and kicking in 2016 as are the fraudsters that is costing us taxpayers dearly esp. in Colorado.

        My hope and prayer is that Trump cleans up the welfare rolls before taking away disability from those that are truly disabled to save the government money.

        • Marty

          Reading posts like this make surfing such a plsaeure

        • M


        • Marc

          You’re still wrong. SSI and SSDI are two very different programs. SSI is welfare, SSDI is NOT. SSDI is based on your work history & salary & takes years to be approved. As far as “this is not fake news, Google it” – you can’t possibly believe suggesting an internet search of a biased phrase would convince anyone of the credibility of your ludicrous rant you’re sorely mistaken. People who truly accept these sensationalized rumors are the electronic age equivalent of those who used to believe the National Enquirer. Sheesh.

  3. greg

    you will get it I had to get an attorney to before I got mine

  4. Alex G.

    Wow that is a lot of disabled for a first world country ab 3%. Also its 12 .21 kids to 1 spouse weird something is fishy looks like one worker has way more kids then spouses I smell a fraud.

    • D.H. F.

      Trust me, government goes to significant lengths to minimize any aid to Americans. It seems that many think a person can go to an SSA office, simply say they are disabled, and get benefits. In reality, it’s a very long, complicated, in-depth process, and all information (medical statements, etc.) is checked. Cases are all periodically reviewed, again requiring doctors’ confirmations of not only the disability, but whether it is so severe as to make gainful employment impossible.

  5. PJ

    I would like to know if there is an anonymous hotline number that we could call to have someone collecting DI who only appears disabled when she needs to be. It is a disgrace to know that this very capable person could be earning a paycheck like the rest of us. And then you have a person who was paralyzed in a car accident to no fault of his own does not qualify.

    • isftt

    • Marc P.

      Are you a doctor? Then mind your own business. You do not know whether or not someone is disabled by looking at them.

      • M

        HOW TRUE!!!

    • D.H. F.

      This person could obtain disability insurance ONLY with medical proof/verification of a severe disability. Please go to the SSA website to find more information.

  6. Ger

    My husband was shot in the face almost 3 years while working at a pheasant club. Owner did not have workmans comp. Husband is now blind. We applied for SS Disability a little over a year ago, denied 3 times and hired an attorney 4 months ago and still nothing. Hard to make ends meet and even harder to see the abuse of the system when those who are truly disabled cant get a dime.

    • Vickie P.

      Amen, to that ! Especially good people like yourself and I. Have had 6 surgeries on back and 4 knee replacements, still, on Disability but cannot make ends meet. Oh by the way, am 58 yrs. Old. Have worked since I was 16, still only get 1,048.00 a month.. Thanks!!

    • John

      People who are blind are automatically approved. If he was denied it would have been for non medical reasons, such as work history. Hiring an attorney won’t change anything.

    • misery c.

      I’m so sorry about your situation.

      • Norm

        Je connaissais le Correcteur typographe de L.-E. Brossard, en deux tomes (et disponible sur Gallica), mais celui-ci m’était inconnu et je n’en trouve la référence précise nulle part… Où l&asquo;rvez-vous donc déniché ?…

    • Ms. L.

      What sort of attorney did you hire? Find a good one that specializes in disability cases only. Midwest Disability comes to mind. There are many out there.

    • Ray F.

      We are sorry to hear your husband’s application for disability benefits did not go the way you had hoped and we are sorry to hear about his condition. The length of time it takes to get a decision on a disability claim can vary depending on several factors. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. We hope your husband receives a decision on his case soon.

    • Becky

      Good blog! I actually love how it87;21#&s easy on my eyes as well as the data are well written. I am wondering how I might be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which really should do the trick! Have a nice day!

  7. William

    I totally agree with Mike. Thanks for providing this information.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, William. Thanks for your feedback! We value your opinion of us and look forward to many more years of serving you in the future.

  8. Grif

    What is the process by SSA for determining if someone is truly disabled and should be receiving benefits? I am not heartless, I think people in need deserve them, but what about people scamming an already bankrupt system.

    • Marc P.

      FALSE. That’s what. And for the record, the system is NOT bankrupt, nor even close to it. Again, check the FACTS.

    • D.H. F.

      Google it. Simply go to the Social Security website, and you can find the details there. Aside from the fact that Social Security is not going bankrupt, one must have medical confirmation — not only of a disability, but of one that is so severe as to make gainful employment impossible. Cases are all periodically reviewed, and one must provide medical confirmation of disability. In short, there is virtually no way to “scam the system.”

    • Ann C.

      Thank you for your concern. Please visit our Disability Determination Process web page for this information.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your concern. Please visit our Disability Determination Process web page for this information.

    • Barb

      Believe the amount of scam is worth chucking the whole program. What a self serving and uncaring thought. If it’s bankrupt it’s because the gatekeepers left the gate unlocked and looked the other way. Yes you are heartless and selfish

  9. jackie m.

    My neighbors made enough money while on disability that they bought a restaurant.

    • pswishe

      Was it an easy bake oven?

    • Marc P.

      Yeah, right. I was an attorney in a large law firm, one year from being nominated partner, when I was stricken with a horrible, incurable disease that ended my career and rendered me unable even to sit upright for more than 3 hours a day- not all at once, either. After waiting nearly two years for a determination, my 401(k) was gone because I wanted to be “honorable” and pay my bills; I lost my house, and was finally forced to file for bankruptcy. Then I was awarded $1698 per month SSDI.

      Considering that the average rent nationwide tops $1000 per month, I find it difficult to believe anyone could save enough on Social Security disability payments to “open a restaurant.” You are either making this up or you do not have all the facts about your neighbors’ situation. The charitable view would be to go with the latter, though I have my doubts whether you were being charitable, or anything else but negative and deliberately inflammatory.

      Oh, and by the way, because my EARNED benefit is so “generous,” I do not qualify for any other government assistance; not food, housing, or medical. I had to go without medical care for two years until I qualified for another EARNED benefit, Medicare – which is NOT an “entitlement” program, as I pay monthly premiums, yearly deductibles, and 20% co-insurance for medical care, in addition of having to buy a separate plan for prescriptions, which has another monthly premium, yearly deductible, and co-pays, all of which I am responsible for, all paid out of my frozen-in-place-till-death amount of SSDI. (The last time there was a COLA I saw a $12 a month increase in my benefit.) No vision or dental coverage comes with Medicare either, so that’s all out of pocket too.

      Reality check here. Try checking out the facts before spewing garbage you “hear” – unless, again, you’re just trolling to hurl out inflammatory garbage you know to be false.

      • Brenda C.


        • Brenda C.

          Marc thanks for being correct in your information.

      • Hal F.

        Fantastic comment! I prepare income taxes and KNOW what you are talking about!

      • PW

        Marc. Make sure you are Maximizing your allowable medical deductions and you may be able to bring down your countable income to qualify for Food Stamp, Housing and Medicaid benefits. A knowledgeable elder law attorney may be able to help qualify you or disability rights advocate group.You are obviously bright- there are written regulations you can look up which state what the allowable medical deductions are per benefit category. . But yes, your points are all well taken. Too little in SSDI benefits to adequately live on and too low of income required to qualify for other necessary benefits.
        May God Bless you and help us all. The boomers are retiring with very little savings as well. What is to become of the disabled and elderly in this country? I am praying for your provision.

        • M

          PW please say a prayer for me also if you would.

      • Hall

        You got that right.

        • Ricky

          Notez que l’article a été corrigé depuis sa sortie initiale (je l’ai bookmarké quand il est sorti mais je ne l’ai lu quu;;217#aujo&rd&#82178hui avant de le mettre dans la synthèse donc je ne sais pas ce qui a été changé).

      • M

        My God Marc,I feel like I just read my story.Everything word for word.I will be homeless on Jan.10th. I went from $63k-/yr to$18k/yr.I have lost my teeth due to my illness. Forget dental work. I actually had 1 idiot quote me a price of $48,000. I went to pick up a prescription that was$895.for 30 pills and I just walked away in tears. I “make” too much money for medical assistance and they take $130. a month for Medicare which covers zip.

        • Mark C.

          I’m a disabled, formerly practitioner in Pulmonary Medicine, being for I was
          a PA-C; L-RCP (I.e., Physician Assistant-Certified; Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner -Pulmonologist-Intensivist
          (Critical Care Medicine). And all of this sounds and looks to be, on paper, or P.O. (I.e., by ? mouth!), mucho, mucho than more impressively and for inasmuch, ¡WOW! And in it’s the all for as much, this silliness and fluff n’ puffs-stuffs if but is (really, it ¡isn’t!) for what’s really going on, ¡really!! This, in reality, even at it’s least of all in all ¡this! Nor, it’s for but rather inasmuch, to doings of this their’s a ¡cockadoodledos! And, is this ¡over! This, for the heyday and ¿about?(Sorry, one becomes a bit on the DAFFY the DAFT it’s are the sides of things, to oneself being a Social Security Disability Retirements ¡POPPERS! And that much ‘IS’ impressively for the ‘TRUTHS OF ¡TRUE!’ AND THIS, FOR ALL THE ‘CERTAINTY,’ IS THROUGH AND ¡THROUGH! (Ok, I’m alright, not. I mean, ¡NOW!

          I should feel fortunately, blessedly graced with my $1530.00 per month lifetimes benefit of Social Security Retirement Income. However, admittedly for the true, I don’t always, or I ‘DO’ as feeling that way to so, this really is a ¡TRUE! Because, is a that of some rather unavoidable things circumstances, (Because, I’m and so just in is such a so much ? for the LUCKYS ONES the fella, considering this: For, I must pay a 100% penalty for my Part B, and a monthly premiums for the governments receiving of my given smaller stipend of which theirs is ¡$244.00! Then, my Part D Rx Plans Coverage, up from 27.50, to 39.90 this calendar years ¡2017! No penalties for Part D, because I had the requirements of having their’s “credible coverage.” The rules are differentiated, this and it’s by theirs to for ‘Lettered Parts!’ Truest statement. I begged for a reprieve, to even my begging forgiveness of the lifetimes100% Part B ¡premium! And with this, of a 0.3% COLA this year, minus the jacked up premiums deductions for Parts B & D, I’ve a net losses, to my disposable for an income= -$24.00. Nice. And don’t forget, now that the Deductibles went up for each, ¡too! Oh, and my rent also has been increased by $50.00 per month. Electricity rates went up. And my car Insurance, increased by $6.00. This, for as much some arbitrarily, is a unknown reasonings for any the why’s ‘¡¿TOFU?!’ And I’ve some very serious medical issues and problems. My CKF has taken a suddenness of downturns, going to Stage 4 from Stage 2. (Out of the 5 stages equates to with either, iether, or, and if is it choices between Hemodialysis. Or, perhaps, you could-should-would, is choosing palitive care and saying “good bye ? old cruel ¡world! ? And I’m now, officially, indeed, but as for a full fledglings is a ¡Diabetic! That’s nice, too. No Rx necessary for Tx and managing blood glucose, ‘¡YETI!’ Having six physicians, one psychologist, and a DME Company, to which are theirs is a den of ‘¡thieves! And actually, I’m really not kidding about that one, ¡either! And it’s all because of is their’s truest and to which Social Security denies me anything is others ‘HELPS’ because, they have me for ? bee-Ing ineligibility for receiving extra anythings more for I have abilities and their’s receiving due to the facts matters to my highest is a for payments to my receiving them as I do. It’s not the net disposable income they use, to determining if you can receiving any wise ways to a helps, this is the and If for me, isn’t I will likely never be at the bottoms levels ¡POPPERSHOODS! Nor, ever receiving of helps, or not for anything is for a kinds. And of which would qualifies as for such as a sorts things eligibility requirements receiving things such as EBT food benefits, extra help for Rx, including the drug companies programs, too. ¿Medicaid? Nope. Meals on ¿Wheels? Uh-uh. How about… WE SAID NO NOTHIN’ -“NO SOUP FOR ¡YOU!

      • Barb


      • Dan M.

        I feel you, although at 35yrs old my welding shop moved to India,I enrolled in school,during school and started roofing, (a full day) 1 day after school I fell 50ft off this roof landing on concrete,blah blah 6mos later I came home and got my wife to file for SSD 2 hard years later with raising 3 boys was approved for SSD yes I pay for Medicare & Medicade and receive $695.00 monthly I’m very thankful but very disappointed in myself. We are living way under poverty, and physical an mental pain is the norm. But I’m blessed to be alive You can never give up we must still strive for getting back to our best,we can’t expect our country to give us what we want be content and appreciate where we live. I’ve blamed this government for too long when only I can change my and my family’s life. God bless America! My oldest son starts college this fall a real college I know I should have died,and knew why I was spared. Only one who can change your life is you. Starting over sucks but only makes you stronger. God Bless

    • Mike P.

      I seriously doubt that.

    • D.H. F.

      Doesn’t work that way. If you’re on disability, and able to work at all, there’s a formula by which the benefits you receive are cut based on your earnings. If one is able to earn enough, disability benefits are phased out.

      • Christina O.

        If the Ticket to Work does not help find job. What can I do?

    • anon

      That is preposterous! Both my husband and I are disabled and we are SINKING! Losing our home — I became permanently disabled with more than one disability that affects my entire body and it’s not something that will “get better”. It happened in my early 40’s. I HATE that I lost my ability to work with my husband being in the same boat. We hardly have any disability (money that we EARNED), but SSA (and SSDI) is a joke! They don’t care about their disabled workers (and my disability didn’t happen on the job, yet it is STILL something I can do nothing about!). There is NO way your neighbors “made enough money while on disability that they bought a restaurant” — you are a fool to believe such stories. IF they had money to “buy a restaurant” on disability, then you can bet they got their money from somewhere else! or someONE else! Sure as hell didn’t get it from disability!

      • Everett

        Not to be cruel to you but I have heard and seen many married couples get divorced so they could keep there homes.They did this to get two checks instead of just one and even tho marriage is a piece of paper to many people,what needs to be looked at is keeping your home and other things that you need to keep.Getting divorced will give you double your income.You can look it up to see what your payments will be.I know Soc.Sec. pays one payment for people to stay married which is $250.maybe Im wrong but you can get more getting separate checks.Think whats good for you and your family,Good Luck and Hang in there I know life is tougher than what most people think…

        • Marc

          False again. Getting divorced to reduce assets was a strategy used when one spouse needed to go into a nursing home but had too many assets to qualify for MEDICAID to pay for the nursing home. Joint assets count & it wasn’t fair for the elderly husband, say, to lose his home just so the sick wife would be able to go into a horrible Medicaid nursing facility. I suggest you go tour one, by the way. Social Security Disability (and SS retirement) are never, ever paid jointly to couples. Every single individual has his or her own account. Spousal benefits arent “double;” you each get your own benefit. Widows/widower can get the higher of the two BUT NOBODY EVER gets both. Plus, you’re talking about two completely different things. Social Security isn’t based on your income or assets, it’s EARNED. Medicaid, what you’re unknowingly referring to, is for the very poor. Read this website for the FACTS before spewing false complaints.

    • Mr W.

      sorry to be so blunt , but you have to be a republican fascist , that spreads misinformation for pay or fun. either way , we are so sick of your kind of so called American !

      • Kourtney

        Damn, I wish I could think of sotnhmieg smart like that!

    • PDBHDK

      Bull crap!
      Ignorant comments like yours piss me off. You oviciously do not know what you are talking about! The amount people receive each month, which, by the way, most people pay into the trust fund, is not huge. I’m grateful for what I get, but it’s not easy. Without SSDI and Medicare, I’d be dead.
      I highly suggest you educate yourself.

  10. Mike

    Excellent way of explaining this information – thanks for doing so.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Mike. Thanks for your feedback! Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward.

Comments are closed.