By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Every family has stories—stories are a great way to carry on family legacies, pass lessons on to future generations, and share what is important to your family with the rest of the world. Your family stories may include ones about the birth of a child, serving in war, helping people in need, or the deaths of loved ones.
We’d like to share some stories about what it means to receive disability benefits from Social Security and we have a website that does just that: The Faces and Facts of Disability is ready for you to explore at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.
Learning the facts and hearing people’s stories about disability allows for a fuller understanding of what is perhaps the most misunderstood Social Security program.
The Social Security Act sets a very strict definition of disability. To receive disability benefits, a person must have an impairment expected to last at least a year or result in death. The impairment must be so severe that it renders the person unable to perform not only his or her previous work, but also any other substantial work in the national job market. Social Security does not provide temporary or partial disability benefits. Because the eligibility requirements are so strict, Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired people in the country and tend to have high death rates.
In addition, Social Security conducts a periodic review of people who receive disability benefits to ensure they remain eligible for disability. Social Security aggressively works to prevent, detect, and prosecute fraud. Social Security often investigates suspicious disability claims before making a decision to award benefits—proactively stopping fraud before it happens.
Please read and watch some of the stories about real cases of people who have benefited from Social Security by visiting the Faces and Facts of Disability website at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.
Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at email@example.com