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Overview of Social Security disability benefits

Social Security disability provides benefits to people in Wisconsin and across the nation if they suffer a serious impairment that keeps them from working. Statistics show that about one-third of people will either die or need disability benefits before they can take advantage of full retirement at age 67. Benefits average about $1,140 each month, but that income can make a huge difference for the recipient. About 80 percent of beneficiaries report they rely heavily on that money each month; for some, it is their only income. Benefits vary depending on how much the person previously contributed to the system.

Applying for benefits is far from easy, and less than 40 percent of all applicants are approved. Those who receive benefits often suffer from a terminal disease; about 20 percent will pass away within five years of receiving benefits. Other recipients suffer from multiple health issues.

Social Security began about 80 years ago to protect workers and adapted to include Disability Insurance in 1956. More than 90 percent of employees across the nation between the ages of 21 and 64 are covered by this program. The protection includes 160 million people and their families while 7.9 million people and about 1 million veterans receive Social Security disability income. Employers and workers both contribute to the plan through taxes paying the same rate of 6.2 percent. A percentage goes to the Disability Insurance trust fund while the majority goes to the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund.

The approval rate for Social Security disability benefits is quite low, and many first-time applicants are denied. A Social Security disability lawyer might help in the appeal of a case for a person who has been denied benefits.

Source: American Progress, "Social Security Disability Insurance", Rebecca Vallas and Shawn Fremstad , July 08, 2014

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