More than 10.1 million people were paid disability benefitsunder the Social Security Disability Insurance program in 2012, 2.5percent of whom were disabled widows or widowers.

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According to the most recent report from the Social Security Administration, awards to960,206 disabled workers accounted for 90 percent of awards to 1.06million disabled beneficiaries.

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In December, payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled $10.9billion and benefits were terminated for 728,320 disabledworkers.

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The SSA found that the number of disabled workers began tosteadily increase beginning in 1990. In December 2012, there were8.8 million disabled workers; 1 million disabled adult children and255,472 disabled widows and widowers receiving disabilitybenefits.

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Geographically, the states with the highest rates of disabledbeneficiaries—7 percent or more—were Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky,Maine, Mississippi and West Virginia. The West and Midwest had thelowest rates of disability.

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About one in seven disabled beneficiaries also receivedSupplemental Security Income payments.

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Workers accounted for the largest share of disabledbeneficiaries, or 87.5 percent. The average age of those receivingbenefits was 53, with men accounting for the majority of thosebenefits. Disabled beneficiaries with mental disorders accountedfor one-third of the payments made in 2012.

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According to the SSA, the average monthly benefit received was$1,134.86.

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The percentage of disabled-worker beneficiaries increases withage for both men and women. In December, the largest percentage ofdisabled-worker beneficiaries were between the ages of 60 and 64.Disability benefits convert to retirement benefits when the workerreaches full retirement age, which is between age 65 and 67,depending on the year of birth, according to the SSA.

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The Social Security program has been providing cash benefits topeople with disabilities since 1956. In 1958, it added payments todisabled workers’ dependents. In 1967, the act was amended toprovide benefits for disabled widows and widowers aged 50 to 64 ata reduced rate.

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To be eligible for the program, a person must be totallydisabled. SSDI does not pay benefits for partial disability or forshort-term disability.

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