Faces and Facts Tell Stories of Living with a Disability

Faces and Facts Tell Stories of Living with a Disability

As humans, one of our most powerful ways of learning is through stories. It’s also one way to break down cultural bias’ and prejudices…by hearing other people’s stories and realizing our common humanness. One of our Social Security Public Affairs Specialists for Northern California, Deogracias Santos shares an article below on the “faces and facts” of people living with a disability, and some educational videos and resources available on the Social Security website.

FACES AND FACTS TELL THE STORY OF DISABILITY

By Deogracias Santos

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in the Northern Area

November is Family Stories Month. Every family has stories—stories are a great way to carry on family legacies, pass lessons on to future generations, and share what is important to your family with the rest of the world. Your family stories may include ones about the birth of a child, serving in war, helping people in need, or the deaths of loved ones.

We’d like to share some stories about what it means to receive disability benefits from Social Security. And we have a website that does just that: The Faces and Facts of Disability.

Learning the facts and hearing people’s stories about disability allows for a fuller understanding of what is perhaps the most misunderstood Social Security program. The Social Security Act sets a very strict definition of disability. To receive disability benefits, a person must have an impairment expected to last at least a year or result in death. The impairment must be so severe that it renders the person unable to perform not only his or her previous work, but also any other substantial work in the national job market. Social Security does not provide temporary or partial disability benefits.

Because the eligibility requirements are so strict, Social Security disability beneficiaries are among the most severely impaired people in the country and tend to have high death rates. In addition, Social Security conducts a periodic review of people who receive disability benefits to ensure they remain eligible for disability. Social Security aggressively works to prevent, detect, and prosecute fraud. Social Security often investigates suspicious disability claims before making a decision to award benefits—proactively stopping fraud before it happens. These steps help ensure only those eligible have access to disability benefits.

If you want to learn more about what happens behind the scenes when someone applies for disability benefits, watch our seven-part video series on the process.

Please read and watch some of the stories about real cases of people who have benefited from Social Security by visiting the Faces and Facts of Disability website.

Family and personal stories are great ways to discover important truths.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.