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Glossary of Social Security Disability Law Terms

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Social Security: While you work, you pay taxes into the Social Security system, and when you retire or become disabled you, your spouse and your dependent children receive monthly benefits that are based on your reported earnings. The system also allows your survivors to collect benefits if you die.

Solvency: The ability to pay off one’s legal debt. The Social Security system is solvent when it can pay 100 percent of scheduled benefits. Social Security uses payroll tax revenues to cover payments; if these fell short, it would draw on the accumulated surpluses in the Social Security Trust Fund.

Spouse: The person whom you were legally married to at the time you applied for benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): A Federal supplemental income program which helps the aging, blind, and disabled, who have little or no income.

Survivor Benefits: If you die, benefits will be paid to: your spouse age 60 or older (50 or older if a disability rather than death occurs) or at any age if the spouse is caring for a child under the age of 16; children age 18 or younger (19 or younger if still in school); and your parents, if you provide at least half of their financial support.