You may not like to think about the possibility of becoming disabled. However, if sometime in the future you find that you’re unable to work because you have a disabling condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death, then the thought will become a reality that you need to address.
When people become disabled under the strict statutory definition Social Security must follow, Social Security helps them meet their basic needs and sustain a higher quality of life. Our disability program provides financial and medical benefits for those who qualify, to pay for doctors’ visits, medicines, and treatments. It’s important to note that twenty-year-olds have a one in four chance of needing our disability programs before they reach retirement age.
We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSDI program provides benefits to people who are disabled or blind, and who worked and contributed to the Social Security trust fund as required by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. The SSI program makes cash assistance payments to people who are aged, blind, and disabled, who have limited income and resources. The SSI program is financed by general tax revenues, not the Social Security trust funds.
Our disability programs continue to be a mainstay in the lives of many people – people just like you. What makes their otherwise similar stories unique is that they live with debilitating conditions that inhibit their ability to work. Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired people in the country.
Our Faces and Facts of Disability webpage highlights the real life stories of people who have disabilities. We invite you to learn the facts about the disability insurance program, and see and hear these stories of hardship and perseverance.