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U.S. Social Security: Disability Information

  • Synopsis: Information on US social security disability benefits SSDI including pensions and assistance programs for seniors and family members.

Definition: Defining the Meaning of Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and is designed to provide income supplements to people who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed because of a notable disability, usually a physical disability. SSD can be supplied on either a temporary or permanent basis, usually directly correlated to whether the person's disability is temporary or permanent.

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The first Social Security check was issued on 31st Jan. 1940 to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont, who received a check for $22.54. The Social Security Act was signed into law five years earlier, as a program to benefit survivors of deceased breadwinners and to provide income for the elderly.

Today, there are more than 49 million Social Security beneficiaries, including retired and disabled workers and surviving spouses, as well as children.

The average monthly benefit check for a retired worker is $1,044. What will happen to Social Security in the years ahead is a continuing topic of discussion among America's leaders.

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.

Social Security Disability:

The Social Security disability insurance program (sometimes referred to as SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

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.

The worker must be unable to continue in his or her previous job and unable to adjust to other work, with age, education, and work experience taken into account; furthermore, the disability must be long-term, lasting 12 months, expected to last 12 months, resulting in death, or expected to result in death. As with the retirement benefit, the amount of the disability benefit payable depends on the worker's age and record of covered earnings.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) uses the same disability criteria as the insured social security disability program, but SSI is not based upon insurance coverage. Instead, a system of means-testing is used to determine whether the claimants' income and net worth fall below certain income and asset thresholds.

Severely disabled children may qualify for SSI. Standards for child disability are different from those for adults.

Social Security Disability Appeals:

If your Social Security Disability application has recently been denied, the Online Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of the decision about your eligibility for disability benefits by submitting an online fillable form.

Adults Disabled Before Age 22:

An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child's benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a "child's" benefit because it is paid on a parent's Social Security earnings record.

Apply for Disability Benefits Online:

U.S. Social Security offers an online disability application you can complete at your convenience. Apply from the comfort of your home or any location at a time most convenient for you. You do not need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.

Quick Facts: Medicare Part A, B, & D

Regardless of a person's age, after receiving SSDI benefits for 24 months, they are eligible for Medicare, including Part A (hospital benefits), Part B (medical benefits), and Part D (drug benefits). The date of Medicare eligibility is measured from the date of eligibility for SSDI (generally 6 months after the start of disability), not the date when the first SSDI payment was received.

If a person receives Social Security disability benefits, any COBRA benefits may also be extended from 18 to 29 months.

Statistics: U.S. Social Security Disability

At the end of 2011, there were 10.6 million Americans collecting SSDI, up from 7.2 million in 2002. The share of the U.S. population receiving SSDI benefits has risen rapidly over the past two decades, from 2.2 percent of adults age 25 to 64 in 1985 to 4.1 percent in 2005.

Nationwide statistics provided by the SSA in 2005 stated that 39 percent of all SSDI applications are approved at the state level by Disability Determination Services (DDS) (including determinations made at both the initial and, in non-prototype states, reconsideration steps).

Latest U.S. Social Security Publications

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