RSDI Benefits: Who is Eligible?

Published: 18th November 2008
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Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI)

The Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance or RSDI is one of the major benefit programs of the Social Security Administration and is can also be referred to as the Social Security Program. It is currently the largest of all the insurance programs in the country.

RSDI is intended to provide monetary benefits to individuals who have lost their earnings because of retirement, death, or disability.

About 96% are covered by the RSDI program and it continues to give protection to eligible workers and their families from loss of income.

Currently, about 50 million people have benefited from the RSDI program.

How Does the RSDI program work?

Social Security benefits are paid under Title II of the Social Security Act through the payroll taxes, referred to as FICA, from employers, employees, and the self-employed.

An individual earns "credits" as he/she works and pays Social Security taxes. These credits are needed to be eligible for future benefits of the Social Security.

Retirement benefits

Workers who were born in 1929 and beyond must have at least 10 years of work to qualify for the benefits. Those who were born before 1929 need fewer years of work.

Those who have stopped working may still be eligible. The credits they have earned during the time they were working remain in the record of Social Security and will be added when one returns to work to be eligible for the retirement benefits.

Retirement benefits will be received at full retirement age but reduced benefit may be acquired as early as age 62.

The full retirement age for workers who were born before 1938 is 65 and gradually increases, reaching the age of 67 for those who were born in 1960 onwards.

Survivor benefits

Survivor benefits are provided to certain family members of a deceased worker who has paid Social Security taxes.

For the survivors to be eligible for the benefits, the deceased worker generally must have worked for 10 years, but a deceased young worker must have worked for at least 1 1/2 years during the three years prior to his/her death.

Family members who may be eligible to receive survivor benefits:

• Children who are under age 18 or up to 19 if they attend elementary or secondary school full time and who are unmarried. Benefits can also be received by stepchildren, grandchildren, or adopted children in some circumstances.

• Children who have acquired disabilities before age 22 and remained disabled

• Parents age 62 or older and are dependent

• Widow or widower who will receive full benefits at full retirement age or reduced benefits at age 60

• Disabled widow or widower who may receive benefits at age 50

• Widow or widower of any age if he/she takes care of the deceased worker's child who is age 16 or younger or has a disability, and is receiving Social Security benefits

• Divorced spouses in some certain circumstances

Disability benefits

To be qualified to receive disability benefits, one must have earned enough credits and is suffering from a physical or mental impairment that prevents him/her from doing any substantial gainful activity (SGA) and is expected to last for 1 year or result in death.

Disability benefits may be paid at any age to workers and their qualified dependents, if any, as long as he/she meets the qualifications for eligibility. The amount of benefits varies according to the worker's age and the time he/she becomes disabled.

If you are suffering financially due to disability, death, or retirement, you should not despair for there are programs designed to help you that will fit your situation, depending on the circumstances.

To help you with retirement benefits and other social security concerns, consult with our skilled social security lawyers. Visit our website and avail of our free case evaluation.

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