Economic Security of Social Security Benefits

From our colleague Debra Shifrin:

More than 14 million American workers depend on the Social Security Disability Insurance program for life-sustaining funds needed to help pay their basic living expenses. Yet recent media attacks have tried to color opinions of this effective social insurance program that provides much-needed economic security and access to health care for individuals whose impairments are so severe that they cannot work.

As someone who has advocated for and represented Social Security Disability claimants for more than 30 years, I’m more than familiar with the facts and figures. But more importantly, I’ve heard the life stories of countless neighbors here in Ohio and know the truth about the SSDI benefits — they are a vital safety net for American workers. Take John, age 47, for example. He had his own tree-cutting business and, when he was in too much pain, tried working as a salesman at Kmart. John developed herniated discs in both his neck and lower back. Objective medical tests proved that his herniated discs were severely affecting nerves in both his left arm and leg. John’s pain means that he can barely move, needs to change position every 15 to 20 minutes and is brought to tears several times a day. John’s benefits will allow his family to keep their home.