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What About Disability?
From Social Security Disability and You – A Guide to Winning the Benefits You Deserve
Despite the fact that it was now providing solid benefits to retirees, Social Security at this early stage did nothing for the disabled. Much of the delay was caused by the Social Security Board’s inability to find a fixed definition of what a disability actually was. This problem persisted until 1948, when a Council on Social Security report set forth the requirement that a person’s impairment must prevent them from performing “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). This definition of work remains in the statute today.
A set of amendments to the law in 1950 set the stage for some disability provisions, but it was not until 1956 that benefits were made available to totally and permanently disabled workers between the ages of 50 and 64. With that move, Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) was born. Finally, in 1960 the current incarnation of the disability program was adopted as benefits were offered to disabled workers under the age of 50. By that year, there were almost 600,000 Americans getting disability payments.
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