RSDI: Social Security Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance

The Social Security Administration administers several different types of benefits for those who no longer work, and their family members.

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Gavel and Scales

RSDI stands for Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance and is an acronym for the three of the types of benefits that the Social Security Administration pays. Another name for the Social Security program is "Old Age, Survivors And Disability Insurance Program," or OASDI.

To be eligible for any RSDI, or OASDI, benefit, you need to have worked for a certain number of years, paying FICA taxes into the Social Security system.

Retirement Benefits

Workers who have worked at jobs that paid into the Social Security system for the requisite number of years are eligible for retirement benefits when they retire. A worker can opt for early retirement benefits at age 62, or wait to receive full retirement benefits at a later age (66 for most people retiring today). If you wait until full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be higher, permanently. You can find informaiton on Social Security retirement benefits in Nolo's Social Security and Retirement Center.

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance is synonymous with Social Security Disability, which is known by various other acronyms such as:

  • SSD - Social Security disability.
  • SSDI - Social Security disability insurance.
  • DIB - disability insurance benefit, and
  • Title II benefits.

If Social Security agrees that you are medically disabled and you are younger than full retirement age, you can receive disability benefits roughly equal to what your full retirement benefits would be. In this sense, disability insurance is kind of like an early retirement plan for those who become ill or injured. (And your Social Security retirement benefit isn't decreased, as it is when you start collecting retirement benefits before full retirement age.) For more information on disability benefits, see our Social Security disability section.

Dependents Benefits

If you are a minor child a retired or disabled worker who qualifies for Social Security retirement or Social Security disability benefits (an "insured worker"), you are entitled to receive benefits until you are age 18, based on your parent's earnings record. If you are the spouse of an insured worker, you are entitled to benefits in certain conditions, such as if you are caring for a child age 16 or under, and in some circumstances, even if you're divorced. For more information, see our section on Social Security dependents benefits section.

Survivors Benefits

Minor children, widows, and surviving divorced spouses of a worker who qualified for Social Security retirement or disability benefits are eligible for a survivors benefit (and sometimes a small one-time death benefit as well). For more information, see our section on Social Security survivors benefits.

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