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Social Security Disability Insurance: An Overview

Since 1956, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has been an effective social insurance program that helps individuals whose physical or mental disabilities are so severe that they cannot do substantial work. The inability to work, along with disability-related expenses, can make meeting basic financial needs nearly impossible.

Key Facts

  • Our Social Security system protects American workers and their families against death, disability and retirement
  • Few workers have alternatives; just 1 in 3 private sector workers has employer-provided disability insurance
  • SSDI provides vital economic security to more than 8 million disabled workers
  • Workers must have paid in to Social Security via payroll taxes to be eligible for benefits
  • They must also meet the strict Social Security disability standard in order to qualify
  • Average benefits are modest: the average disabled worker receives around $1,483 per month
  • Benefits replace half or less of pre-disability earnings for most disabled workers

By keeping this program strong for people who have paid into the system, it prevents serious burdens such as homelessness brought on by foreclosures, evictions and bankruptcies.

Recent Research & Statistics

The Center for Budget & Policy Priorities is an excellent resource for up-to date information and data about the programs.

Learn More

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