Social Security Disability Secures Today and Tomorrow

September 29, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

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. Timothy H.

    Is there a form to fill out when having your disablity turned into retirement.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Timothy. No need to do anything. Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age. Benefits are not interrupted with this transition and the benefit amount will generally remains the same.
      We hope this information helps to clarify this issue.

  2. Julie

    How do you get off of social security disability ?

  3. deborah q.

    hi i feel bad for my exhusban but now that he collects disabilty how do i get my allimony to help with my bills?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Deborah: You will need to contact your county clerk’s office for that.

  4. Jeff P.

    I wish there was a way to contact the supervisors in the finance office. I am on disability, however it was assumed I was on worker’s comp and I am not. I have submitted proof Three (3) times by mail, fax, and in person. My former worker’s comp folks even did so. The local office says that they have sent the proof and proper adjustment paperwork out and it just needs a signature and it will be fixed. This was in February and it is now May. I have been told several times that it is requiring a “manager to manager” call to get it finished and just “have patience, there is a backlog”….I used to work for the government so I understand, but the electric company and landlord do not. I have no more to pawn or lose and I am not able to work any whatsoever. Another surgery is in 3 weeks. Will I have a place to come home to? All over a simple signature on a desk in Chicago. Please help.

    • Ray F.

      We apologize for the long wait, Jeff. We have referred your inquiry to our Operations staff to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary. We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      • Jeff P.

        Thank You for such a rapid reply. I also received an email from a Mr.Doug Nguyen this afternoon asking me to call and gave me a number, I so appreciate y’all’s attention. God Bless Y’all.

        • Jeff P.

          Thank You Again. Within 2 weeks as promised by Mr. Martinez y’all accomplished what my local folks in Texas could not seem to do in 6 months. God Bless Y’all.

  5. Terry

    As much as I would like 2 say i’m only aware of one thing & that is, it is as good as it is bad otherwise how would their be a balance 2 work with…thus i know on a scale of 1 to 10 i’m not whatever normal might be considered these days…take sin 4example is not sin anymore, but an alternative lifestyle…wickedness is so thick that if u could cut it with a knife blood is all u would c…

  6. Ken H.

    I’ve lost all faith in this system! I can barely get out of a chair most days after suffering a major back injury causing severe nerve damage throughout my body back in 2014. Four years later, I finally get the appeals committee denial response. All I hear is you’re so young at 44. Last I checked, injuries know no age limits. Evidently, attorneys don’t want to take cases to Federal court, because they risk not getting an easy pay day. I’ve lost almost everything I own in life and certain to be homeless soon. Yet, Obama’s government gives illegals money that we as taxpayers pay into. I know people on SSDI with only carpal tunnel. Yet, someone like me can’t get approved because of my age!!

  7. Nadine M.

    I thought social security disability & ssi started in 1990 when a boy was trying to work & they denied him the job because of his disability & he didn’t have anything until he fought it in court& won the case

  8. Darrick L.

    Help is all I ask for, cause I am suffering with my disability I want to be happy and normal like the beautiful world . Plants,animals can thrive in this world so all I ask is for me as well. I’ve been battling this disability all my life and it’s so hard for me to carry on living its gotten even harder so know I’ve come out and announce my problem and I don’t know any or their way to help myself my mind has control over me and not I have control over it. Thank you for all your support God bless take care love Darrick Horsley

  9. edwin d.

    How about multiple stroke and more illness plus a senior citizen oVer 60 years old.. I think this one should qualified for retroactive.

  10. edwin d.

    A 59 years old disabled man apply for SSDI dec. 2012 . Compassionate Allowances SSI was given and start on Jan to the end of June 2013, SSA found the man was disabled on July 15 ,2013, No SSI or SSDI received from July to Dec. 2013, Benifits begin on February 2014. The Question here, Is there any Retroactive payment from July 15 ,2013 to the end of December 2013.
    We are looking forward for 5 months and half Back payment that still not receive. Thank you.

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for your question Edwin. Current law requires everybody that is approved for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI program to serve a 5 month waiting period. The first Social Security disability benefit payment is paid for the sixth full month after the date the disability begins. Here is an example: If the state agency decides your disability began on January 15, your first disability benefit will be paid for the month of July. Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due, so you’ll receive your July benefit in August.
      You mentioned SSI payments for 6 months. The Supplemental Security Income or SSI program is a needs based program that pays benefits to disabled adults who have limited income and resources. A provision within the SSI program allows local Social Security offices to make “presumptive” disability payments to individuals that apply for SSI for the first time, and meet all the non-medical factors of eligibility, and their medical condition is such that there is a strong likelihood that their claim will be medically approved. These payments may be made for up to six months while waiting for the formal disability decision. We hope this information helps!

      • edwin d.

        Thanks for the earliest reply. My State as I mentioned they are all good to handle this situation without any help of any lawyer. My question is the waiting period of five months for a legitimate DIS abled. I understand the procedure the first monthly check is after full six calendar month. But what happened to the first five months of being legitimate disabled ? Any Back payment of the said first five months ?

        • Ray F.

          Hi Edwin.The waiting period consists of five (5) full calendar months in a row and you are not entitled to benefits for any month in the waiting period. The 5 month waiting period ensures that during the early months of disability, we do not pay benefits to persons who do not have long-term disabilities, and avoid duplicating other income protection plans (such as employer sick-pay plans) during the early months of disability. Remember that Social Security disability benefits are paid to individuals who cannot work because of a disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.

          • edwin d.

            Also there is no other protection p k an or income and before filing SSDI three years plus out of work. Thank you.

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