Before 1930, state-sponsored insurance against job-related injuries, sickness, unemployment, and injury was common in Europe. This was followed by U.S. Progressive Era social scientists and social workers advocating for the same insurance for the American people. This led to the creation of the Social Security Act (SSA). Not long after that, many U.S. political figures began arguing that these benefits should also apply to Americans who had become disabled before the age of 65. These benefits would also be accessible for their dependents.
The U.S. government essentially found that the difficulties that surrounded individuals with disabilities were even more impactful than that those of old age. A federal disability insurance program was proposed in 1949, although it was not until 1956 that President Eisenhower signed the Social Security Disability Insurance bill into effect. As its 63rd anniversary quickly approaches, we re-examine the Social Security Disability Act and the significant impact that it has had on millions of Americans.
Amending the SSA to Include Benefits for the Disabled
On August 1, 1956, the Social Security Act was amended to included benefits, which would be provided monthly to all permanently and totally disabled workers from age 50-64. The Act would pay child’s benefits to disabled children aged 18 and over or to retired or deceased workers as long as their disability began prior to the age of 18. The amendments also lowered the retirement age for widows and female parents to 62.
In January of 1957, retired or deceased workers’ dependent children received the first payments for disability, so long as their disability began prior to the age of 18.
SSD Benefit Requirements
Under the Act, an individual is found to be disabled if:
- They have a mental or physical condition prohibiting him/her from performing substantial, gainful activity
- Their condition lasts for at least one year (or is terminal)
- The individual’s impairment must fall under the Social Security Administration’s listing of such
- If an applicant’s impairment does not meet or equal the SSA’s list, the applicant’s age, work history and education will be evaluated
If an applicant is no longer capable of completing new work or work that he or she previously did, they are considered to be disabled.
The Impact Continues
The Social Security Administration reported that in December 2017, payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled almost $11.5 billion and awards to disabled workers accounted for 88 percent of awards to all disabled beneficiaries. Since its inception 63 years ago, the SSD program has been amended and changed several times over. However, its purpose remains the same. It continues to aid millions of disabled Americans and their dependents and helps them to get through some of their most trying times.
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Daggett Shuler fight every day for the rights of those who are disabled. Call us at 336-724-1234 today for a free consultation.
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