Income of Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries

(released January 2001)


For nearly 40 years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has documented the economic status of the aged and the strong role that its benefits play in the well-being of retirees. SSA also administers the Disability Insurance program, which is the major U.S. public program providing income replacement to disabled workers. This chartbook provides an overview of how important Social Security benefits are to disabled workers and their families.

The charts focus on the demographic and economic status of disabled workers and their families; the extent to which those families rely on Social Security, other disability payments, pensions, asset income, and earnings; and the role Social Security plays in reducing poverty. Disabled workers are compared with the rest of the U.S. working-age population (referred to as "others aged 18–64"), most of whom are neither disabled nor Social Security beneficiaries. However, that group also includes other types of Social Security beneficiaries, such as retired workers aged 62–64, Supplemental Security Income recipients who are not concurrently disabled-worker beneficiaries, and persons who have disabilities but are not disabled-worker beneficiaries.

The data for the chartbook were collected by the U.S. Census Bureau in its Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The data were linked to information from SSA program records that was used to identify survey respondents who were disabled-worker beneficiaries. Two SIPP panels were combined to create a large annual file for 1994 of sufficient size to study that group. Disabled-worker beneficiaries accounted for 2% of an estimated 155 million persons aged 18–64.

The chartbook was compiled in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics by Susan Grad, Marcelino Garcia, Celine Houget, and Emil Loomis.

Paul N. Van de Water
Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics