Presidents like Eisenhower and Reagan Helped SSDI Benefits

This week we have discussed SSDI benefits and the grim financial situation it is facing; it is on track to start cutting benefit levels as early as 2015, well before retirement benefits start facing the same problem. Today we take a look at the evolution of SSDI benefits – how they got started and what changes over the years have led to where we find ourselves today.

The History of SSDI Benefits

  • Although FDR looked into providing disability insurance benefits during The Great Depression, it was Congress and President Eisenhower in 1956 who formally instituted SSDI benefits
  • In SSDI’s first four years, it was only available to disabled Americans over the age of 50, because politicians believed that these workers would need cash benefits more than younger workers who could still undergo rehabilitation training and return to work
  • To complement SSDI benefits and reform state welfare programs, President Nixon created SSI benefits in 1972 and chose the Social Security Administration to administer the new benefits because of its experience and success with SSDI benefits
  • The early and mid-1970s saw explosive growth in the number of SSDI beneficiaries, prompting President Carter and Congress to pass Social Security Amendments in 1980 that made it tougher to get disability benefits
  • The 1980 amendments created a huge backlash, as people saw their benefits completely terminated, and new disability criteria effectively eliminated the ability of young children with severe mental disabilities to receive benefits
  • President Reagan signed into law in 1984 new amendments that eliminated some of the barriers that had been put into place in response to the SSDI growth in the 1970s

Today we face similar problems to those from the 1970s – growing SSDI rolls, tough economic times and politicians looking for scapegoats. This time around, though, we hope that disabled Americans in need are not the ones who end up bearing the brunt of any reforms.

Have you recently suffered a disability and find yourself unable to work? If so, contact our Tulsa SSI lawyers who specialize in disability benefits.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys



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