Disability, General

Supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act

July 27, 2015 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

Woman in wheelchair smiling using smartphoneSocial Security is committed to the principles and spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to improve the lives of our beneficiaries and our employees who have one or more disabilities.

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.

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About the Author

Phil Gambino, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Communications


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  2. bassist j.

    I live in the County of Henrico, Virginia. It’s located directly right outside the city of Richmond. I live in a condo community with my wife. We had the ability to purchase the place we live with monies we received from death in her family. I am disabled and was given that status as of 2000. This was due to a workplace accident that happened when I was a Juvenile Corrections Officer. I’ve had several surgeries and as of this date am no longer able to walk more than a few feet, and cannot stand for more than about 2 minutes. I also have other medical issues that have began to rise due to the original workplace accident. The condo community where I reside has begun re-paving all the driving and parking areas here. My problem is this. The section that we live in has experience limited access to vehicles, as we were issued parking assignments several minutes from our condo door. No access to emergency help i.e. rescue, ambulance, fire, to our home and lack of help for necessities such as groceries etc. Is there anything that can be done concerning this situation as it still is ongoing and has been for more than 2 plus months now. And we have not been told as to when this will come to an end. What legally can or should have been done concerning this problem. And how should I go about dealing with any in the future????

  3. Long A.

    How to ensure the beneficiary is the one who are benefiting with the cash that the program gave? Like the person with disability is blind or minor? Is minor part of the program? Thank you.

  4. Goldbach L.

    People with disabilities deserves this kinds of benefits. The government knows their needs to improve the quality of lives. What is the requirements to support what kinds of disabilities you has?

    • Ann C.

      Thanks for your question. Social Security pays disability benefits to people if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. You may also find our listing of impairments useful. We hope this helps.

  5. Michael R.

    Question I fell three and a half stories.. I wasn’t able to go to a social security office because of my injuries. I could year-and-a-half later. When I went to the Social Security Office and applied for disability I receive disability in three weeks. At the time I was 61. So Social Security disability gave me my 62 retirement. Now when I reach my 66 retirement will I receive that amount my lawyer at the time said when I reach 66 that I would receive that amount. Is this true

    • Ray F.

      Hi Michael, Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age (Currently 66). Benefits are not interrupted with this transition and the benefit amount will generally remains the same.

  6. Larry j.

    Iam a man that fell out a 75 mph cop van,inbetween washburn,north dakota an max i was brain dead 28 days,come back closer with ALMIGHTY-GOD-MY HEVEANLY FATHER THEN EVER IN MY LIFE,COME BACK TO MY BABY JOURNEY JADE DESJARLAIS’S MOTHER HAVING STAGE-4 STOMACH-CANCER,LUPUS,OSTIOPEROSIS,I THREW MYSELF FROM THAT COP VAN DUE TO HER MOTHER TELLING ME THAT SHE WAS GOING TO TAKE MY BABY FROM ME AND DID I HAD NO IDEA AT THE TIME JOURNEY WAS SICK!!!!!!!My number is 1-701-839-9688 i am in abroken-hearted body i need help my whole family is dead- i still got all IN ALMIGHTY GOD MY LOVING FATHER-AMEN!!!!!!!

  7. Robin

    What i’m trying to understand is why I keep getting denied? Three years ago I had a stroke. I have been a diabetic for years though. Because of the stroke, I found out that I have CHF…my doctor informed me that my heart rate was only 11% in 2014….has not changed…keep in mind that social security denied me because of my age,, I’m 33 years old..was 30 when I had first found out about CHF. I’m tired…I just need help badly…I have been turned down from getting help to take this to court,,mainly because everybody keeps saying ‘they are back up”..I don’t know what to do anymore..

    • Ray F.

      Hi Robin. We are sorry to hear about your medical condition and that your application for disability benefits did not go the way you had hoped. The Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability. We pay benefits to individuals who have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months, and their medical condition or disability is expected to last at least one year or result in death. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. If you do not agree with our decision, you have the right to request an appeal, but must request an appeal within 60 days from the date you receive your denial letter. For more information, read “The Appeal Process”. If you need help with filing your appeal, you can contact your local Social Security office.

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  10. Edward

    I have been disabled since 1996 and receive SSDI benefits. I have been living in a Project based Section 8 apartment since 2000 when I was approved by HACLA/Housing Authority and supplemented rental payments by HUD . About 4 years ago I got an ADA approved Service Dog.

    My question is this: As you know per HUD requirements, an annual re-determination happens. At that time generally so long as you are still disabled and not receiving a large increase in earnings you will be re-approved for another year. I have been re-approved for 15+ years. Another part of the re-determination is the monthly rental amount, which is determined by calculating expenses that are deducted from income to come up with the correct rent amount for the upcoming year. Deductions approved are such things as out-of pocket medical expenses, milage for medical transportation expense, paid for prescriptions and so forth. This past hyear my service dog almost died due to a very serious infection and the medical/prescription/hospital expenses were huge relative to my monthly income. Somehow I was able to cover these bills over a 6 month period last year (this year as far as reconciliation is concerned).

    Are these medical expenses for my service animal allowable toward the expenses in my current reconciliation due October 1, 2015?

    • Marie D.

      I am in the same boat, except my USDA housing mgt. co. did not tell me that my service dog’s medical expenses and others were deductible in my rent. I have had him for 7 years and paid all out of my own pocket. They tell me now that they knew his expenses were deductible all along, but they don’t know if they have to reimburse me for the past 7 years.. I am calling the ACLU for help.

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