Disability Insurance (DI) is an integral part of Social Security. It provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves on account of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the DI program.
The following charts provide important background information about Social Security Disability Insurance.
- How Much of the Growth in Disability Insurance Stems From Demographic Changes?
- Social Security Disability Insurance is Vital to Workers With Severe Impairments
- Testimony: Pending Insolvency of Disability Insurance Expected and Should Be Addressed
- SSI and Children with Disabilities: Just the Facts
Policymakers need to replenish the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund by late 2016, but that necessity comes as no surprise and poses no crisis. Although the DI trust fund is legally separate from the much larger Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund, both are integral parts of Social Security. Traditionally, lawmakers have divided the total payroll tax between OASI and DI according to the programs’ respective needs.
Congress has reallocated payroll tax revenues many times in the past — and in both directions. This is a traditional and historically noncontroversial step.
Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, 22.2 million more Americans would be poor, according to the latest available Census data (for 2012). Although most of those whom Social Security keeps out of poverty are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1 million children. Depending on their design, reductions in Social Security benefits could significantly increase poverty, particularly among the elderly.
Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million retired workers and workers with disabilities, their dependents, and their survivors. Though Social Security is best known as a retirement program, one-fifth of the program's beneficiaries are non-elderly adults (under age 62) or children who receive survivors' benefits or disability insurance benefits.
- Top Ten Facts on Social Security
The Center examines the effects of Social Security on poverty (including poverty among children) and on particular demographic groups. We also analyze Social Security reform proposals to determine their likely impact on the program’s long-term solvency and its effectiveness in reducing poverty and hardship.
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