Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2021
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Size and Scope of the Social Security Disability Program
- Disability benefits were paid to over 9.2 million people.
- Awards to disabled workers (540,353) accounted for 89 percent of awards to all disabled beneficiaries (606,248).
- In December, payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled over $11.9 billion.
- Benefits were terminated for 831,220 disabled workers.
- Supplemental Security Income payments were another source of income for about one out of eight disabled beneficiaries.
Profile of Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries
- Workers accounted for the largest share of disabled beneficiaries (85 percent).
- Average age was 55.
- The largest category of diagnoses was diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (34 percent).
- Average monthly benefit received was $1,358.30.
- Supplemental Security Income payments were another source of income for about one out of 10.
Since 1956, the Social Security program has provided cash benefits to people with disabilities. This annual report provides program and demographic information about the people who receive those benefits. The basic topics covered are—
- beneficiaries in current-payment status;
- workers' compensation and public disability benefits;
- benefits awarded, withheld, and terminated;
- disabled workers who have returned to work;
- outcomes of applications for disability benefits; and
- disabled beneficiaries receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, or both.
Your suggestions and comments on this report are welcome and should be directed to the Office of Statistical Analysis and Support at 410-965-0090 or email@example.com. Contact information is also provided on each table.
Natalie T. Lu
Acting Associate Commissioner
for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics
The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program provides benefits to retired workers and their dependent family members and to survivors of deceased workers. The Disability Insurance (DI) program provides benefits to disabled workers, their spouses, and children (whether or not disabled).
Benefits are paid from the OASI and DI Trust Funds. However, not all disabled beneficiaries are paid from the DI Trust Fund. All disabled widow(er)s' and most disabled adult children's benefits are paid from the OASI Trust Fund. Persons receiving disability benefits from either trust fund are referred to in this report as Social Security beneficiaries.
Data for 2001 and subsequent years presented in these tables may differ slightly from other published statistics for two reasons. First, all data for those years are based on 100 percent data files. Second, beginning in 2001, the definition of an award was changed to include secondary benefit awards, subsequent periods of disability, and conversions from one class of child's benefit to another and to exclude reinstated benefits. Those changes resulted in a slight increase in the award counts.
Beginning with the 2020 edition, some of the mental disorder diagnostic groups were renamed:
|Former name||New name|
|Autistic disorders||Autism spectrum disorders|
|Childhood and adolescent disorders not elsewhere classified||(Unchanged)|
|Intellectual disability||Intellectual disorders|
|Mood disorders||Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders|
|Organic mental disorders||Neurocognitive disorders|
|Schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders||Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders|
|Other mental disorders||(Unchanged)|
Also beginning with the 2020 edition, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses were reallocated from the “childhood and adolescent disorders not elsewhere classified” group to the “other mental disorders” group to reflect the agency's adoption of an ADHD diagnostic code for both children and adults.
All years are calendar years unless otherwise specified.
Numbers in the text, charts, and tables may not add to totals because of rounding.
- History of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program
- Definition of Disability
- Types of Benefits Available
- Initial Disability Decision-making Process
- Appeals Process
- Benefit Calculations
- Benefits Offset and Withheld
- Work Incentives
- Benefit Termination
(Chart 7 and Tables 31–34)