The Disability Insurance (DI) program — a vital part of Social Security that pays modest benefits to people who can no longer support themselves by working due to severe medical impairments — has grown rapidly in recent decades.
Our analysis finds that four-fifths of the program's total enrollment in 2013 — and over two-thirds of the growth in enrollment since 1980 — stems from five easily quantifiable factors: growth in the overall working-age population, the aging of that population, growth in women's labor force participation, the rise in Social Security's full retirement age, and the growth in DI receipt among women eligible for benefits to match men's rate of receipt. Read more
- 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
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.
April 11, 2014
April 1, 2014
March 31, 2014
Updated March 31, 2014
Revised March 14, 2014
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