National Freedom Day: The History of Disability Benefits

history of disability benefits

February 1st marks a lesser-known holiday: National Freedom Day. A former slave named Major Richard Wright petitioned to create this holiday in 1865 to celebrate the 13th amendment to the Constitution. This amendment outlawed slavery, and ensured freedom for all people in the country. When holidays like this come around, we like to reflect on the history of disability benefits in the United States. It has helped so many disabled workers in the United States. This post outlines some important dates in its history.

The History of Disability Benefits

1933– President Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected. Roosevelt suffered from polio, a severe physical disability that confined him to a wheelchair. He was instrumental to the development of the Social Security system.

1956– Social Security Disability Insurance becomes a legal federal program. SSDI provides monthly benefits to workers who become disabled and can no longer earn money.

1969– Supplemental Security Income is introduced. This program influenced much of the modern disability benefits system.

1973– The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 authorizes grants to develop services for those with severe disabilities.

1990– The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits and protects against discrimination based on disability, and requires employers to provide accommodations and accessibility for both employees with disabilities and the public.

The system is still not perfect, but the history of disability benefits shows progress. Citizens with disabilities now enjoy many rights and freedoms that were once unheard of, and on National Freedom Day, that is definitely worth celebrating.

Utah Social Security Disability Lawyers

At Summit Disability Law Group, our lawyers regularly help clients win disability claims. A disability claim can be stressful and frustrating, but we are here to help you navigate the process from start to finish. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your case, feel free to contact us and schedule a free initial consultation.


Photo “US flag Backlit” copyright by Jnn13.