Helpful Facts About Social Security Disability Benefits

July 22, 2021 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: July 21, 2021

People together going down the sidewalk talkingWhen the unexpected happens and you can no longer work due to a serious medical condition, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a lifeline for you and your family.

Most American workers contribute to Social Security through federal payroll taxes. If your working years are cut short by a severe and lasting illness or injury, our SSDI provides monthly financial assistance.

Six facts you should know about our SSDI program

  1. SSDI is coverage that workers earn. If you paid enough Social Security taxes through your lifetime earnings, our SSDI provides support by replacing some of your income if you’re disabled and unable to work.
  2. The Social Security Act—the law governing SSDI—has a strict definition of disability. We consider you disabled if you can’t work due to a serious medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death. We do not offer temporary or partial disability benefits.
  3. Disability can happen to anyone at any age. Serious medical conditions, such as cancer and mental illness, can affect the young and elderly alike. One in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement age. As a result, they may need to rely on Social Security disability benefits for income support.
  4. SSDI payments help disabled workers to meet their basic needs. The average monthly Social Security disability benefit is $1,280, as of April 2021, which allows disabled workers who can no longer work meet their basic needs.
  5. Social Security works aggressively to prevent, detect, and help prosecute fraud. Our agency is committed to protecting your investment. Along with our Office of the Inspector General, we take a zero tolerance approach to fraud. The result is a fraud incidence rate that is a fraction of one percent.
  6. Social Security helps people return to work without losing benefits. Often, people would like to re-enter the workforce. However, many worry they’ll lose disability benefits if they try working, or if they’re unsuccessful in returning to work. We connect them to free employment support services and help them maintain benefits, such as health care. Learn about our Ticket to Work program on our website.

We’re with you through life’s journey, paying disability benefits to almost 10 million disabled workers and their spouses and children. Learn more about our disability insurance program today.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


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  2. Minerva H.

    I received the medicare card, but my name was spelled wrong, what to should I do?

    • Patty

      Hi Minerva. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask members in our Blog community to work with our offices for specific questions. Please call your local Social Security office to get your name corrected on your Medicare card. Look for the general inquiry telephone number under “Show Additional Office Information”. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

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  6. Musaddiqalii

    I don’t get up at 794 and live that far below poverty level Moh e Meer by Ms StudioI don’t understand.

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  9. Kathy C.

    I don’t receive but $794 and I’m even about to have hip surgery which I’ve already got a lot of titanium in my back and I can’t work and I can’t earn at $1200 I don’t get up at 794 and live that far below poverty level I don’t understand

  10. Vicky L.

    What is the point?

Comments are closed.