SSDI 60th

Social Security Disability Secures Today and Tomorrow

September 29, 2016 • By

Last Updated: September 29, 2016

ssdi60“I have never asked for help, but man did I need it now.” This is the case for many people living with disabling conditions that prevent them from working. At Social Security, we see and hear these stories every day.

We provide benefits to millions of people with disabilities and their families through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. This earned benefit program provides a vital lifeline for those who can no longer work because of an oftentimes unexpected critical illness. Disability can be unpredictable and can change anyone’s life at any time.

This year, our disability program turned 60 years old. There have been changes over the years, especially in medicine and technology, but one thing remains the same: our core philosophy of securing today and tomorrow for workers and their families.

In honor of the 60th anniversary of the program, we’ve featured blogs focusing on disability since the beginning of August, when the program officially turned 60. Acting Commissioner Colvin kicked off the blog series and Judy Chesser, Deputy Commissioner for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, detailed the legislative history of the disability program.  We will continue to feature blogs about the program over the next few months.

We invite you to visit our Faces and Facts of Disability page to learn more about our disability beneficiaries through personal stories and videos. You can also get links to our publications and statistics and learn disability facts.

Currently, we feature Jon’s story. Jon lives with a rare neurological disability called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. A condition so severe, it doesn’t allow him to work, easily digest food, or even go for a leisurely stroll in the park. Jon expresses his gratitude for Social Security and describes what his life is like. Read Jon’s story, as well as many others, by visiting Faces and Facts of Disability.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Elvis Velles

    What about stage 4 prostate Cancer?

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits when they become disabled. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you think you are disabled under our rules, you can apply for disability benefits online. You may find our listing of impairments useful. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact your local office for further assistance.

  2. Martha Stanford

    Millions of people get SS benefits because it was easy to get them as soon as their unemployment checks ran out.
    Huge spike in disbursements after obama took office.
    Part of the Cloward-Piven strategy!
    Yes I know many do deserve them!
    But then some MDs specialize in Faking problems!
    And not enough investigators!

  3. Jay B Holland

    II was approved without an attorney in about 6 weeks I was so bad. Problem, you still get discriminated against. In NH Superior Court where I have an ADA case. The New Hampshire Commission for Civil Rights found probable cause and the Elks appealed to Superior Court. I’m a member of the Elks. I asked for a meeting time change of the Home Committee to the day or weekend to talk about illegal activity in the Lodge as an accommodation to my disability as at night I am too fatigued. They refused. The Amendments Act of the ADA from 1989 says extensive analysis shall not be required to determine a disability. It also states your are considered disabled if you have a previous disability. The Judge allowed the Elks attorney to depose 7 of my doctors, requested all the medical information from my doctors for over 10 years, all my financial information and for me to answer all medcial questions which they were going to get from the doctors anyway just to harass me. The Regional ADA opined that was way to much information according to what Congress wanted. The Judge in NH ignored it and allowed all the information. No “supposed” disability organization has helped. They all have no time. The NHCHR is a joke and the Governor’s Commissionis worse when it comes to help. Congressmen Guinta got no where. So you may be disabled but don’t file any ADA cases. There is no help.

  4. Mary Ellen

    Where are the SS rights of a married disabled person addressed? I am particularly interested in knowing about the survivor’s benefits a disabled person may be entitled to.

  5. Dominique

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  6. tammy

    “We provide benefits to millions of people with disabilities and their families through the Social Security Disability Insurance program. This earned benefit program provides a vital lifeline for those who can no longer work because of an oftentimes unexpected critical illness. Disability can be unpredictable and can change anyone’s life at any time”.

    I am 45 years old, a mother of three older children and physically disabled ( I was born with cerebral palsy ). I’ve never collected one red cent of money from the Socialist Security System, even though I have applied several times and they find me disabled.

    Technically, I am an “adult disabled child” (please look this up, it is NOT SSI or SSDI) but have never been able to secure any benefits whatsoever from the Socialist Security system, even under that program because I got married to an “Able bodied person”. The Socialist Security system is too busy paying benefits to some people who scam the system and worrying about adult disabled children (who they pay benefits to off of a parents record) marrying an able bodied person. This gives them the justification to cut off benefits to the adult disabled child because the husband (in theory) can now support the disabled person. This theory works great, if your husband is rich and you have no need for money but what it actually does, is to force two adults (one disabled one able bodied person) to live off of one income. In the real world, the socialist security system is forcing adult disabled children to only marry other disabled persons (and NO able bodied persons) at the threat of loosing any and all benefits that they are entitled to.

    If you are a physically disabled person (an adult disabled child) and you happen to marry an “able bodied person” you will be loosing out on a lifetime of benefits, all because of a one word “rule” that prohibits you from marrying an “able bodied person”. Best of all, they never tell you about their “Rule” so that they can justify cutting off any benefits that you may be due.

    Because you are physically disabled (adult disabled child) and you choose not to marry another adult disabled child or disabled person drawing off socialist security, you WILL LOOSE ANY AND ALL BENEFITS FOR LIFE. This means that the SOCIALIST SECURITY system is TELLING YOU WHO YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MARRY and who you are
    NOT ALLOWED TO MARRY! It is a discriminatory act “rule” and should be ILLEGAL!

    Even though I am permanently and totally disabled, if I marry an “able bodied person”, somehow that marriage makes everything ok and I am no longer considered disabled (in the eyes of the socialist security system). Magically (because I married an able bodied person), the pixie fairies come down and cure my disability, because now I can just go out and find gainful employment, no one will discriminate against my physical disability and everything will be grand, right? Somehow magically, marrying an able bodied person makes my physical disablility dissappear and now I am cured, right? WRONG!

    The issue is a special “Rule” that the Socialist Security System uses to discriminate against “certain” people. If you are a “physically disabled person” (AKA-certain people) and happen to marry an able bodied person, then the SOCIALIST SECURITY system will use special “Rules” to legally discriminate against you and deny you benefits, even if you appeal online.

    The SOCIALIST SECURITY system has caused me a lot of economic hardship all because I married an able bodied person. The SOCIALIST SECURITY system thinks someone who is physically disabled (permanently and totally disabled) marries an “able bodied person”, that somehow magically they are cured of their physical disability and two people can survive off the able bodied persons income. WOW, talk about a bunch of bureaucratic idiotic thinking, that somehow this would not cause a financial hardship….. amazing.

    The rules that the Social Security Administration uses to legally discriminate against persons who are “Adult Disabled Children” who happen to marry an able bodied person, are discriminatory. This is loosely referred to as the “marriage penalty” but I call it exactly what it is, a legal form of discrimination.
    I firmly believe this rule, is an act of bias, prejudice and discrimination against people who (by no fault of their own) are born disabled and happen to marry an able bodied person

    Please write your Congressional Representative and tell them to end this modern day form of Legal Discrimination. In this day of fairness and equality, there are still some people suffering from an outdated and oppressive bureaucratic rule.

    (PS. notice how the only thing any of these SOCIALIST SECURITY workers ever say are quotes of the rules or processes, like a worker drone. They are unable to address any topics that fall outside of their rule books). Typical bureaucracy and bureaucratic responses, like trying to argue over lost change with a vending machine!


    My cousin has brain lesions which have caused cognitive issues along with severe vision loss so she is disabled. She was married when all of this came about and her husband could not deal so he divorced her and gave her a small settlement. She did not have an extensive work history because of her children and only taught at a university for a short while before the first attack. Her husband owned his own business but refused to help provide for her. She draws a very small check less than 700.00 a month. I assume from her own SS. Is she eligible to draw from her ex-husbands benefits . she is now 54

  8. ben

    Most of this site’s answers tries to baffle you with OBAMA ADMINISTRATION smoke filled excuses and rhetoric. They won’t tell you why the COLA is practically non-existent but your outlay for health and living expenses keep going up. Also they are raising your medicare co-pay and deductible but you won’t here about this. So even if you get any COLA you losing money from your total SS benefit.

  9. Sheila

    Thank you for all of the replies on this blog.
    I filed for disability a few months after I had to leave my long time healthcareer of 39 years. I have been waiting for 2 1/2 years for approval. Filed twice appealed twice. I have a disability atty helping me now. I am waiting for a hearing now. I have been notified that a hearing is coming.
    I have had a severe mood disorder my entire life controlled with meds. I had four serious hospitalizations throughout my lifetime for the mood disorder.
    I try to go back to work, apply for work then get overly anxious about returning. I am stuck.
    The supportive information is in place. It has been a very long wait!
    Thank you all again for your posting your experiences. I just needed a vent.
    Hopefully we can get the benefits we have earned and need.

  10. tony

    Too bad I can’t work for the Cooperative Disability Investigation unit with my mental disorder. I could catch a whole bunch of fraudsters saving Social Security millions.

    There use to be a Section in the POMS about how to flag fraud claim. When the SSA develop the CDI unit, they erase that section. The SSA can’t catch the smart fraudsters. The can only catch the dumb ones. There are not many dumb fraudsters. Fraudsters do a lot of research not to get caught. You need a smart fraudster to catch a smart fraudster.

    The fraudsters already know the SSA is only going after people who have worked and got a 1099 tax form or filled out a W-4 tax form. The lazy fraudsters don’t work at all and never will be caught.

    The best chance of stopping the fraudsters is before they are approved.

    Mental illness is the easiest way for the fraudsters to collect free Social Security disability money. I gave a whole bunch of information on how to prevent and catch fraud cases.

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