Supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act

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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90 thoughts on “Supporting the Americans with Disabilities Act

  1. If I am a grandparent raising my granddaughter and her parents are on drugs, is that considered a disability? My husband has cancer and may die. I want to know if I can get Social Security for my granddaughter if he should die. I live in Utah.

    • Hi Sherri! Under current law, Social Security can only pay benefits to grandchildren if certain conditions are met. In addition to providing for more than 50% of their support as you are doing now, the biological parents of the children must be deceased or disabled, or you must have legally adopted them. See “Benefits For Grandchildren” for more information. In the other hand, 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. We hope this information helps.

  2. I am on a Medicare advantage plan. I have permanent nerve damage in both of my feet and in my tail bone area. I wanted to go my doctors appointment and while I was on his patient portal email site I asked him if he could accommodate me with a place to lie down while I waited as I can only stand or sit for about a half hour at the most. He told me he couldn’t do that. I have only seen him once before an he let me do this. Now I guess I won’t be able to see him again. What can I do?

  3. Hello my name is Laura Teekell,
    I am writing on behalf of my brother Barry K Fox.
    He is currently receiving SSI and is on Medicaid and Food stamps. However, he is needing extra help with paying his monthly utilities and buying other daily hygiene needs as wells as paper goods. He only receives a little of $700 a month in SSI along with his Food Stamps that is just not enough to live on. His rent is $500 and his utilities can run up to over $300 depending on the season and the month. He is not married, has never been married and has NO children. He live along. My mother and my self sometimes has to help him with his monthly bills as well as other expensives that he just can not afford or pay. He had to cancel a doctors appointment for today due to he did not have the gas nor the money in order to pay for the doctor visit even though he has Medicaid. I am asking if there is a way that the State of Louisiana or the Government can help my brother.
    He is totally 100% disabled and has been for over 27 years due to a motorcycle wreck. He is paralyzed from his waist down, but is able to walk with a cane, but with a pigmentation. He has rods and pins in both legs. He has to self catheterize himself daily. He takes medicine for bladder spams, among other medicines He can drive. Its just so difficult with just receiving a little over $700 a month that things are tough and hard to live daily on a normal level with someone that can afford to pay all his bills and still have a little money to buy gas or other stuff he might need

    Thank you in advance for taking the time out of your daily schedule to read over my message and respond or reply back to me.

    • Thank you for contacting us, Laura. Your brother may also be eligible to receive additional assistance from the state where he lives. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems.
      You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information.
      We hope this information helps.

  4. I THANK All That ARE taxes that we put into are retiriment system is by usa citizans ..nothing is coming from goverment ..ecept a very blindsided ..over zellous money hungery greedy banks investors ..If there were any system that should be protected .this would be the one ..i am disabled taking care of the disabled lover and all my money gose for us 2 two0 i worked all my life 54 credits . lost my heath care and in less than a year cause i reported my income every 2 weeks to the wrong person ..there is a very fine line to are retirement system and alot of mis guieded and un purp[ose not allowing any one person the knoweledge of the Most wonderful retirement programes around and for all your callers are not knowledable and i belive that if ssa sadi ssi should give all disabled and retirees a DVD >>FIGURE IT OUT U ALL >ITS A WOMANS WORLD >>SYTEM LACKS >>THE NEW WORLD AND IT LAKES MORE POTENAIL WITH UP TO DATE AND LOOK INTO A NEW WORLD UP DATE >>ALL THIS IS #RD GRADE LOGIC >>THINGS HAPPEN TO THE BEST PEOPLE AND YET UR STUCK ON SOS >>WHY NOT HEAR ARE ISSUES PRIOR TO GETTING AND RECIVEING BENFITS STOP PUNISHING PEPLE FOR assets proir to waiting 4 years and look at the know like up date events like fannei make takes ur home landlord floods apts .people take identys and yet u dont care ..please understand life events chage every day by day and if any body has issues prior to recdieving benifts mayby they need a grace period to allow themm to get back on therte feet before u cut that person off ..ty ..IAM SO MAD at are system its a new world times DID CHANGE >>GOT IT

  5. It took over 4 years for me to be granted disability. I lost everything my home cars motorcycle at 51 years old i was living on the street. I had begged for ssi…….why did i not get any help?

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