One out of four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before age 67, according to the Social Security Administration. In other words, the chance that you won’t be able to work until retirement age is greater than you may think.
Fortunately, Social Security is a lot more than just a program to provide retirement income for older Americans. There’s also a Social Security program that pays disability benefits based on your work history, which can provide a valuable inflation-protected income stream if you become unable to work. With that in mind, here are seven things American workers and their families should know about Social Security disability insurance.
1. There are two forms of Social Security disability insurance
Generally, when you hear someone refer to “Social Security disability,” they’re talking about Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. This is the program designed to replace lost income if a worker who is covered by Social Security becomes disabled.
In addition, there is a program called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, that is based on financial need, not an individual’s work record. We have a separate, thorough article about the SSI program, but for the remainder of this article, you can assume that I’m referring to Social Security Disability Insurance.