Social Security -- Disability Law

Social Security Definition

What Is Social Security?

Social Security is a government-run program for healthcare and income if you are a certain age, sick, unemployed, permanently disabled, or a spouse dies. You pay into the Social Security system during the years you work. This covers the current people on Social Security. When you reach eligibility status, you can apply to get monthly benefits.

Citizens receive a Social Security number at birth that is used throughout your life.

Key Takeaways

  • Social Security automatically comes out of your paycheck for most employees
  • The Social Security Act of 1935 created the system to help citizens in old-age, disabled workers, or families facing hard times
  • The benefit amount depends on when you need the program, years worked, disability determination, earnings record, and other factors

Understanding Social Security

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the federal agency that runs the program and gives out your monthly earnings benefits when you qualify. Social Security taxes are paid both by the employee and employer from each paycheck, with exceptions for income level or retirees. Most people get full benefits and stop paying payroll taxes when they reach full retirement age.

Your benefits may change if you get married or divorced, change to self-employment, or are the surviving spouse of a deceased worker or primary income earner.

Social Security Benefits Terms Explained

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Minimum financial assistance for people with disabilities or retired adults.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Financial support for mental impairment or disabled adults with qualifying work history.
  • Social Security Trust Fund: A U.S. government fund receives the tax revenues and pays monthly benefits to people who qualify for the social security program.
  • Social Security Retirement benefits: Workers who retire at age 67 will get full benefits. However, those who retire at a later age can receive more benefits each month.
  • Survivors benefits: Widowers receive survivors insurance and monthly cost-of-living pay for their family members.
  • Medicare: A health insurance program for those age 65 and over.
  • Medicaid: A health insurance program for low-income individuals under age 65.
  • Disability Benefits: Private disability insurance paid through your employer. SSDI can be difficult to qualify for, so some workers opt for private coverage.
  • OASDI tax: This acronym stands for old age, survivors, and disability insurance tax.