The Importance of Disability Benefits

January 7, 2015

As an attorney who practices in Social Security disability claims (SSDI) I have seen first-hand the impact becoming disabled has on the individual’s life. The loss of a job – the source of income, ability to provide for one’s self and his or her family, and the satisfaction of self-determination can be a crushing blow to working class individuals and their families. I regularly see that the small disability payments that my clients receive are usually the only lifeline between them and becoming fully destitute.

A recent study by the Urban Institute details what I have seen first-hand in a graphic manner. The report, “How Important Is Social Security Disability Insurance to U.S. Workers?”, by Melissa M. Favreault, Richard W. Johnson, and Karen E. Smith is in the June 2013 publication available at: http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/412847-how-important-is-social-security.pdf.

The authors found that the SSDI program provides a “critical lifeline” for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Some key findings that SSDI plays a vital role in the nation’s social safety net:

  • Nearly half of the SSDI beneficiaries rely on the program for at least half of their family income
  • SSDI benefits account for virtually all of the income received by 20% of the beneficiaries and by 33% of the unmarried beneficiaries
  • SSDI beneficiaries are twice as likely to live at or near poverty levels

Clearly, SSDI benefits provide an important social safety net for some of America’s most desperate citizens. Hopefully, this report will help others better understand the plight of our disabled population and the SSDI program designed to help them when they need the help the most.

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