This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI has been a salvation for millions of people with long-term and severe disabilities and illnesses. The program, signed into law by President Eisenhower on August 1, 1956, amended the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide economic security to disabled workers and disabled children of retired or deceased workers, just as the SSA provides retirees with protection from impoverishment in old age.
Today, nine million disabled workers and two million of their dependents rely on disability benefits earned through contributions to Social Security. Although these benefits average less than a modest $1,200 per month, most recipients rely on disability insurance as their main source of income. For one third of beneficiaries, disability benefits are their only income. Social Security disability has proven to be an invaluable poverty reduction program: over three million workers and their families are lifted out of poverty each year by Social Security disability benefits. At the LaPorte Law Firm, countless clients over the last 36 years have told us that the approval of their claims have resulted in “literally life-saving” monthly income and Medicare health insurance.