This month marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. 

Disability affects millions of Americans. It can inhibit peoples’ quality of life and their ability earn a living. 

Social Security is here to help you and your family, but there are strict criteria for meeting the definition of disability, and they are different than other programs.

Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. 

While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.

 Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments.

Social Security is also required by law to review the current medical condition of people receiving disability benefits to make sure they continue to have a qualifying disability. Generally, if someone’s health hasn’t improved, or if their disability still keeps them from working, they will continue to receive benefits.

Social Security is a support system for people who cannot work because of a disability. You can learn more about Social Security’s disability program at and also by accessing our starter kits and checklists at