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The importance of Social Security Disability: The facts

When some people talk about Social Security Disability (SSD), they act like it comes out of their own pockets each time someone receives it. The truth is that SSD is an insurance coverage you have to work to earn. You pay Social Security taxes over time, and if you become disabled, those benefits are available to you based on how much you've paid into the system.

Disabilities are often seen as there from birth or only in old age. The fact is that disabilities happen at any age, putting everyone at risk. With 56 million Americans living with disabilities, it's likely that you know someone who has one, too. Conditions like cancer or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are disabilities that can happen suddenly and take even young people by surprise.

People with disabilities often cannot work or cannot work a full-time job. As such, the SSD program is there to provide disability benefits for income support. For individuals without the ability to work enough to support themselves, this support is necessary and critical in their lives.

In 2017, the SSD program paid out approximately $1,170 monthly in benefits on average. Based on the 2016 poverty level of $11,880, that's just enough to keep someone above poverty level. This small amount may represent a person's full or close to full income. These are small payments, but the make a major difference to those who can't work or can't work much.

If you have a disability, these benefits can help you balance your income. With the right help, you can apply and get approved.

Source: Social Security Administration, "The Facts about Social Security's Disability Program," accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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