The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a report in July 2015 stressing the importance of Social Security disability benefits. The report characterizes the SSDI program as “an important and vital lifeline to millions of American workers and their families” that “helps pay the rent and put food on the table.” The report summarizes five key facts about SSDI benefits and the critical role they play in the lives of working Americans.
1. Workers earn SSDI benefits by paying taxes into Social Security. Current beneficiaries worked and paid SSDI taxes for an average of 22 years.
2. Middle Class families get protection from Social Security disability benefits. The majority of beneficiaries were middle income earners before they became disabled, earning an average of $42,000 per year in the five years before qualifying for SSDI benefits.
3. SSDI beneficiaries are battling serious and life-threatening disabilities that prevent or limit them from employment. One in five SSDI beneficiaries die within five years of becoming eligible for benefits.
4. Social Security disability benefits are modest, and serve as a major source of income for beneficiaries. SSDI replaces only 1/3 of workers’ income before their disability began.
5. Poverty is alleviated by SSDI benefits. Disability payments help prevent 3 million Americans to be lifted out of poverty, and reduces poverty for another 1.9 million people.