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SSA announces new disability and benefits information campaign

The Social Security Administration's acting commissioner Carolyn Colvin wants every American to know that Social Security Disability Insurance serves as a vital source of financial protection for working people during times of tremendous uncertainty and personal hardship. Unfortunately, there are some persistent misconceptions about SSDI -- mistaken beliefs that continue threaten the very survival of the program.

To address that issue, Colvin recently announced a new campaign called "The Faces and Facts of Disability," which is meant to put the facts about SSDI right out there where they'll be easy to find. In addition to accurate information about the nation's largest disability program, the campaign will also feature personal stories of the beneficiaries who truly need the program.

The Faces and Facts of Disability is now a feature on the SSA's main website. Here are some of the basic SSDI facts you can find and learn more about on the page:

  • Workers pay into the Social Security disability fund through their FICA taxes, earning eligibility for SSDI over time.
  • The program offers modest benefits only to people who are completely disabled from working for at least a full year. It does not offer any benefits for partial disabilities or those of a temporary nature.
  • The standards for what is considered a disability for SSDI purposes are extremely strict.
  • The Social Security Administration has "no-tolerance" programs in place to detect, prevent and prosecute attempts to game the system or defraud the program. As a result, the Social Security disability fraud rate is less than one percent.
  • It's true that the overall number of people who qualify for SSDI benefits continues to rise, but experts have projected that rise for decades, simply based on the nation's demographics and aging population.

Unfortunately, disabilities are unpredictable. Anyone could become completely and permanently disabled in the space of a moment due to a car wreck, workplace accident, or illness. Acting Commissioner Colvin hopes that The Faces and Facts of Disability will be a valued resource for people with disabilities, advocates and service providers to share facts and stories publicly. Hopefully, greater understanding will build support for the long-term security of this invaluable program.

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