Honoring the Beneficiaries of Social Security

October 26, 2017 • By

Last Updated: October 26, 2017

woman wearing glasses Social Security is committed to the principles and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which improves the lives of our beneficiaries and our employees who have disabilities.

We also want you to see and hear from the people who rely on Social Security disability benefits to thrive as active members of our communities. Our Faces and Facts of Disability website highlights the real life stories of people who have disabilities.

One person we are featuring on our Faces and Facts of Disability website is Lynne Parks. She is an artist from Baltimore, Maryland. First diagnosed with metastatic fibrosarcoma at age 14, she has lived with this illness for nearly 35 years. It started in her face and moved to different parts of her body, including her abdomen and leg. She also has various tumors on her shoulder and arm.

Inflammatory responses, infections, and new tumors are complications that Lynne deals with every day. “Because of the tumors, I have limited use of my left arm,” Lynne said. “I have weakness in my legs. There’s fatigue because my immune system has taken such a big hit from the cancer and the cancer treatments. I get sick all the time. There might be a day that I can be at home and resting and I’ll try to make the best of it. I’ll wake up, fix breakfast and eat, and that takes a while because of my physical limitations, but also because of my first tumor that was in my face.”

Having been helped by Social Security, Lynne tries to help others. “I’m also helping people who have issues learn to cope with them, because they see in me someone as a role model, essentially. Life without Social Security benefits, it’s a horror story, because I imagine myself on the streets.”

The disability benefits Lynne receives are a crucial resource for her quality of life. Our disability programs continue to be a mainstay in the lives of many people — people just like you. Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired people in the country. It’s something that can happen to anyone.

We invite you to learn the facts about the disability insurance program, and see and hear these stories of hardship and perseverance at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Virgie G.

    i have disability of COPD and spinal stenosis.

  2. Herbert C.

    I am currently on disability benefits due to a heart attack and crippling chronic back pain due to disk rubbing and shifting. I can only travel by electric wheelchair and without my disability benefits I would be completely house bound not able to visit my doctors without having someone push me in a Manuel wheelchair which means at their mercy and can only go where they go. I’m currently undergoing Chemo therapy for colon cancer and a recent fall has left my left lef with blisters and rug burns which makes me undergoing bandage changes daily due to the drainage and need to check for infections. I am truly relying on my disability benefits to survive.

  3. Roberta W.

    My husband payed into social security for 33 years, then became an educator for 16 years. He retired over 5 years ago, can’t walk due to neuropathy, only goes to doctor appointments, and can not collect social security disability, even though he is disabled.

    • Marc

      @Roberta Whittenburg: Social Security Disability Insurance is meant to help replace your income due to becoming disabled during your working years. It’s for when you can’t work. Once you’re retired, you’re not working any more so you go onto Social Security retirement. If your husband retired “over 5 years ago,” then he wasn’t working. Also once you reach retirement age, Disability turns into retirement because that’s when your working years end anyway. This is all explained plainly in this blog, and also extensively on the website we’re on right now. No one is entitled to nor receives SSDI once they reach retirement age. It’s for DISABLED WORKERS. SSI is NOT the same program as SSDI; workers pay into Social Security towards it and it’s a part of Social Security, while SSI, although administered by the SSA for efficiency, is an entitlement program for the disabled poor.

      • Thanks!

        Very well explained!!! I dont believe i have EVER seen such a well executed, shortened, yet easily understandable version on what all the abbreviations in the world of the “SSA” mean… Thank you for that!

    • AKA

      He’ll have to be satisfied with the SERS pension that he’s entitled to until he reaches retirement age 62.

  4. Kathleen G.

    Hi I been struggling with social security for so long since 2003 till now trying to get my disability insurance because I been doing Cna work all my life since 18 I’m partially blind, spinal disease, bulge and herniated disc in back and neck , brain injury, and stroke and list goes on no income to survive everyday living I’m a U.S.citizen and I can get my disability payment why is that and I’m unable to work could some one help me please…thank you

  5. Lloyd L.

    I had a massive heart attact 9 years ago and also had a widow maker. If not for SS disability my wife and me would have lost everything. They expedited my application and approved me. They have been more than kind and helpful. I turned 66 yrs full retirement this year and moved off tht disability role last month. I will always be gratefull for SS disability. Many thanks and god bless

    • MsTweetie

      I’m so sorry about what happened to you. I have a friend who had two heart attacks last November. With all due respect, a “widow maker” is a heart attack that kills you. I’ve heard of many who have had this horrible tragedy. One never knows when something like this will happen. I hope you do better in the coming years, seriously I do.

      • Debra M.

        Thank you ? I need help getting back on my finances & I have a credit card I don’t want to lose my right to the point l can’t live without your help to get back on treake so I don’t like loose anymore than I already lost!? Please help me❤️

      • Debi

        A widow maker does not always kill you otherwise I would not be writing this. I had a heart attack form the LAD being 99.9% blocked 7 years ago. I am also diabetic, had one knee replacement which I still have constant pain in both knees, I just had breast cancer surgery, constant pain from arthritis in the vertebrae in my neck from 40 years of typing and paperwork, neuropathy in both feet and one leg, torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder, arthritis in my back and fibromyalga. I applied for SSDI a year and a half ago and was turned down twice saying I could do some kind of work to make maybe a third of what I made as a legal secretary. I have filed an appeal but worry I will be denied again. A worker’s compensation doctor (my shoulder) says I am 33.33 percent disabled just from my shoulder, knees and an additional strain on my back and neck. I am really stressed about this.

  6. Carmen N.

    I had received SSDI for disability. I currently get my Social Security. Am I still entitled to SSDI Benefits? And state assistance? I’m 67 yrs old and have disability.

    • AKA

      No, you are converted to retirement when you reach full retirement age. Your payments remain the same.

    • Donna h.

      I am currently on SSID at62 but was told that when I turn 65 that I could draw my SSI

      • Ray F.

        Hi Donna. For those individuals receiving disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we automatically convert their disability benefits to retirement benefits when they attain their Full Retirement Age. Generally, the benefit amount remains the same. We hope this helps!

  7. Frances A.

    I was on SSDI which was changed to widow’s benefits when my ex-husband passed. I live in chronic severe pain and was on opioids to control it. With all the new laws to keep bad ppl from getting them we the ppl that need them can no longer get them. With #45 threatening to cut social security and medicare I have no idea what I will do.1273 is not much when rent alone is 750. I miss dr appts because I know I can’t pay for them. Something has to be done. The poverty level needs to be increased so ppl like me can get medicaid as well.

    • AKA

      #45 is NOT threatening to change Medicare or social security payments and even if he were, you are grandfathered. Your implication that he might change something politicizes the topic and is divisive. Changing the poverty level has no effect on your payments since that is not a measure of how your benefits are paid.

  8. Jaye P.

    My daughter has a similar story with stage 4 breast cancel that metastasized to the nerves in her right shoulder causing paralysis of the (primary) arm. She’s been managing her financial life with SSI for 2 years and we don’t know how she could have made it without the benefits. I hope Congress does not make cuts to this program – too many unfortunate Americans need it.

  9. loretta s.

    How do I update my ss disability?

    • AKA

      Reply to the entity that asked you to update it.

  10. Guru

    You have collected 8 yrs of my social security as I worked in USA from 98-2007. I am in India since 2008 and trying to get back to USA since 2012. Request you to give me Greencard / Passport and allow me to work in USA. I plan to collect my Social Security Checks during my retirement.

    • AKA

      Contact the Embassy near you. SSA has nothing to do with issuing green cards.

    • MsTweetie

      Are you an American Citizen? I ask because you’re requesting Social Security to issue green card and or passport. Good luck with that. Do you seriously think the SSA monitors these comments? Other than possibly “AKA” but they have also told you what to do. And why has your attempt to get back to this country taken so long? Five years? You’ll have to do some leg work of your own, like get a passport. I think you are also in the wrong forum. This is only for people with disabilities. You can get SSA benefits but because you only worked in the US for 9 years, the amount you’d get would not completely be enough to sustain your standard of living.

Comments are closed.