Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD or SSDI) is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program of the United States government. It is managed by the Social Security Administration and is designed to provide income supplements to people who are physically restricted in their ability to be employed because of a notable disability, usually a physical disability. SSD can be supplied on either a temporary or permanent basis, usually directly correlated to whether the person’s disability is temporary or permanent.

Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SSD does not depend on the income of the disabled individual receiving it. A legitimately disabled person (a finding based on legal and medical justification) of any income level can theoretically receive SSD. (“Disability” under SSDI is measured by a different standard than under the Americans with Disabilities Act.) Most SSI recipients are below an administratively-mandated income threshold, and indeed these individuals must in fact stay below that threshold to continue receiving SSI; but this is not the case with SSD.

Informal names for SSDI include Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Title II benefits. These names come from the chapter title of the governing section of the Social Security Act, which came into law in August 1935.

At the end of 2011, there were 10.6 million Americans collecting SSDI, up from 7.2 million in 2002.[1] The share of the U.S. population receiving SSDI benefits has risen rapidly over the past two decades, from 2.2 percent of adults age 25 to 64 in 1985 to 4.1 percent in 2005.[2]

In a 2006 analysis by economists David Autor and Mark Duggan for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Autor and Duggan wrote that the most significant factor in the growth of SSDI usage had been the loosening of the SSDI screening process that took place in 1984, following the signing into law of the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984, which directed the Social Security Administration to place more weight on applicants’ reported pain and discomfort, relax screening of mental illness, consider multiple non-severe ailments to be disabling, and give more credence to medical evidence provided by the applicant’s doctor. These changes had the effect of increasing the number of new SSDI awards and shifting their composition towards claimants with low-mortality disorders such as mental illness and back pain. Autor and Duggan wrote that a second factor in increased SSDI usage was the rising value of SSDI benefits relative to what recipients would have earned if they had been employed, saying that in 1984 a low-income older male SSDI recipient would have received from SSDI about 68% of what he would have earned had he been working, and that by 2004, due to increasing income inequality in the United States, the same man would have received from SSDI 86% of what he would have earned through work. Autor and Duggan say that aging and changes to the overall health of the U.S. population, have had a small effect at most on SSDI usage.[3]

Autor and Duggan argue that because the definition of disability adopted in 1984 is quite broad, the SSDI program often functions in practice as an insurance program for unemployable people.[3]

As of December 2013, under current law, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the “Disability Insurance trust fund will be exhausted in fiscal year 2017 and the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund will be exhausted in 2033”.[4]

In December 2014, the SSDI program insured approximately 10.9 million beneficiaries including disabled workers and their spouses and children.[5]


Murfreesboro is a city in and the county seat of Rutherford County, Tennessee.[7] The population was 108,755 according to the 2010 census, up from 68,816 residents certified in 2000. In 2015, census estimates showed a population of 126,118.[5]The city is the center of population of Tennessee[8] and is part of the Nashville metropolitan area, which includes thirteen counties and a population of 1,757,912 (2013). It is Tennessee’s fastest growing major city and one of the fastest growing cities in the country.[9] Murfreesboro is also home to Middle Tennessee State University, the largest undergraduate university in the state of Tennessee, with 22,729 total students as of fall 2014.[10]

In 2006, Murfreesboro was ranked by Money as the 84th best place to live in the United States, out of 745 cities with a population over 50,000.[11][12]

In 1811, the Tennessee State Legislature established a county seat for Rutherford County. The town was first named “Cannonsburgh” in honor of Newton Cannon, then Rutherford County’s member of the state legislature, but it was soon renamed “Murfreesboro” for Revolutionary War hero Colonel Hardy Murfree.[13] Author Mary Noailles Murfree was his great-granddaughter.

As Tennessee settlement expanded to the west, the location of the state capital in Knoxville became inconvenient for most newcomers. In 1818, Murfreesboro was designated as the capital of Tennessee. Eight years later, however, it was itself replaced by Nashville.[14]