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Social Security: Information for Persons with Disabilities

  • Synopsis: Last Revised/Updated: 2015-03-01 - Information on disability social security in major world countries including Australia Canada United Kingdom and United States.
U.S. Social Security

The term Social Security, in the United States, refers to a specific social insurance program for the retired and the disabled. In the United States, Social Security is primarily the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) federal program. Elsewhere the term is used in a much broader sense, referring to the economic security society offers when people are faced with certain risks. U.S. Social Security is funded through payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) or Self Employed Contributions Act Tax (SECA)

Main Document

What is Social Security

Social security is defined as social insurance as a government-sponsored insurance program that is defined by statute, serves a defined population, and is funded through premiums or taxes paid by or on behalf of participants. Participation is either compulsory or the program is heavily enough subsidized that most eligible individuals choose to participate.

Social security primarily refers to a social insurance program providing social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others.

Social Protection:

Social protection - Refers to a set of benefits available (or not available) from the state, market, civil society and households, or through a combination of these agencies, to the individual/households to reduce multi-dimensional deprivation. This multi-dimensional deprivation could be affecting less active poor persons (e.g. the elderly, disabled) and active poor persons (e.g. unemployed). This broad framework makes this concept more acceptable in developing countries than the concept of social security. Social security is more applicable in the conditions,

Social insurance - Where people receive benefits or services in recognition of contributions to an insurance scheme. These services typically include provision for retirement pensions, disability insurance, survivor benefits and unemployment insurance.

Income maintenance - Mainly the distribution of cash in the event of interruption of employment, including retirement, disability and unemployment.


Social Security, in Australia, refers to a system of social welfare payments provided by Commonwealth Government of Australia. These payments are administered by a Government body named Centrelink. In Australia, most benefits are subject to a means test.

Disability Support Pension - Provides income support for people who suffer a long-term disability, which in the opinion of an assessor they will not recover from in the next two years, and which will render themselves unable to work or participate in a training activity enabling them to work. It is more than you get on Newstart, and is income and assets-tested. However, if you are permanently blind, you can receive DSP without income and assets tests, and without needing to prove any inability to work, etc. DSP can take a while to process, so as a temporary measure claimants are placed on another payment (e.g. Newstart with a medical certificate to cover the activity tests) while the payment is being assessed; once granted it is backdated to the claim date at the higher DSP rate.


The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a contributory, earnings-related social insurance program. It forms one of the two major components of Canada's public retirement income system, the other component being Old Age Security (OAS). Other parts of Canada's retirement system are private pensions, either employer-sponsored or from tax-free individual savings (known in Canada as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan).

The CPP also provides disability pensions to eligible workers who become disabled in a severe and prolonged fashion, and survivor benefits to survivors of workers who die before begin receiving retirement benefits. If an application for disability pension is denied, an appeal can be made for reconsideration, and then to the Canada Pension Plan / Old Age Security Review Tribunals or Pension Appeals Boards (POA).

United Kingdom:

The Department for Work and Pensions (or DWP) is the largest government department in the Government of the United Kingdom, created on June 8, 2001, from the merger of the employment part of the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security. It is currently headed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a Cabinet position.

Disability Living Allowance - Referred to as DLA - is a tax-free benefit for children and adults who need help with personal care or have walking difficulties because they are physically or mentally disabled. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) run a telephone helpline giving information on benefits for sick and disabled people, their representatives and carers. This is called the Benefits Inquiry Line (BEL). In England, Wales and Scotland, you can contact the Benefits Inquiry Line on: 0800 88 22 00 or Textphone: 0800 24 33 55.

United States:

Social Security in the United States currently refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. U.S. Social Security is a social insurance program funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, or Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.

US Social Security Disability - A worker who has worked long enough and recently enough (based on "quarters of coverage" within the recent past) to be covered can receive disability benefits. These benefits start after five full calendar months of disability, regardless of his or her age. The eligibility formula requires a certain number of credits (based on earnings) to have been earned overall, and a certain number within the ten years immediately preceding the disability, but with more-lenient provisions for younger workers who become disabled before having had a chance to compile a long earnings history.

Quick Facts: Social Security Number

With few exceptions, all legal residents working in the United States now have an individual Social Security number. Indeed nearly all working (and many non-working) residents since Social Security's 1935 inception have had a Social Security number, because it is required to do a wide range of things including paying the IRS and getting a job.

Statistics: U.S. Social Security

In 2013, the total U.S. Social Security expenditures were $1.3 trillion, 8.4% of the $16.3 trillion GNP (2013) and 37% of the Federal expenditures of $3.684 trillion.

Income derived from Social Security is currently estimated to keep roughly 20% of all Americans, age 65 or older, above the Federally defined poverty level.

On February 16, 2015, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin reported that $100 billion in Social Security payroll taxes is collected from illegal immigrants, even though few will ever be able to collect benefits.

Latest Social Security Publications
1 : Homeless Women at Disadvantage for Accessing Disability Benefits : North Carolina State University.
2 : Single Mothers More Likely to Live in Poverty than Single Dads : University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
3 : Free Disability Evaluation: Claims and Appeals : Disabled World.
4 : Electronic Social Security Payments - Beware of Scammers : Adler Stilman, PLLC.
5 : Social Security Means Testing to Improve Solvency : American Academy of Actuaries.
6 : Determining Disability for Social Security - Vocational Experts Role : William C. Babut, P.C..
7 : SSDI for Workers Disabled by Heart Disease : Midwest Disability PA.
8 : The Forgotten Laborer - Raising the Retirement Age : Midwest Disability, P.A..
Click Here for Full List - (12 Items)

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