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Mark Miller: Remaking Retirement

How Social Security Disability Insurance Works

This benefit is an integral part of overall risk protection for workers, notes contributor Mark Miller.

Most people think of Social Security as a retirement benefit, and that's understandable. Among the 61 million Americans receiving Social Security at the end of 2016, 68%--44.3 million people--were retired.

But Social Security's broad aim is to protect against the risk of lost income from work. The income loss might be due to retirement, disability, or to a survivor after the death of a family breadwinner. Last year, 14% of Social Security beneficiaries (10.6 million people) were disabled workers; the remaining 18% were survivors, spouses, or children of workers entitled to benefits.

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