October is Disability Awareness Month. For Social Security, disability is always at the forefront of our conversations. We hear stories daily about Americans living with disabling conditions who need help from the system they contributed to during their working life. Their stories make us proud of the work we do.
Through our Faces and Facts of Disability website, we share the stories about what it means to receive disability benefits from Social Security. The site highlights some of the people who benefit from our programs. We believe that learning the facts and hearing peoples’ stories about disability allows for a better understanding of what’s perhaps the most misunderstood Social Security program.
The Social Security Act sets a very strict definition of disability. Social Security pays benefits to insured people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. The impairment must be so severe that it renders the person unable to perform not only his or her previous work, but also any other substantial work.
Social Security doesn’t provide temporary or partial disability benefits. Because the eligibility requirements are so strict, our disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired people in the country. Our new online resources, the state disability fact sheets and our national disability issue paper, provide specific information about our recipients’ demographics by state and congressional district. These resources are proof of Social Security’s economic impact and benefit to our most vulnerable citizens.
Disability is something we don’t like to think about, or we may think it can’t happen to us. But the odds of becoming disabled are greater than we realize. The Social Security disability program excels in providing services to people when they need it the most.
For us, disability has faces and names — among them Larry, Kiera, Ebbie, Charlotte, Jamie, and Christine. We want to invite you to come see their faces, and learn the facts. They are truly at the heart of what we do.