Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Completing the Picture: Key Features of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

Publication Date

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program operated by the Social Security
Administration, insures workers and their families against the inability to work because of a disability.
As such, it provides a vital safety net for millions of Americans. However, conflicting statistics and
differing perspectives on the program have given rise to a number of misconceptions about why it
exists, whom it serves, and what it provides. In this brief, the authors summarize key features of the
program and describe some of the salient issues policymakers will need to consider to address the
projected depletion of the SSDI Trust Fund in 2016. We also discuss the eligibility criteria for the
program, benefit levels, and beneficiaries’ ability to work.

People with Disabilities
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)