What is retirement, survivors, disability insurance?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Retirement Survivors Disability Insurance Benefits (RSDI)

Many people have heard of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) but are unfamiliar with retirement, survivors and disability insurance (RSDI).

RSDI insurance is a federal program through the Social Security Administration. It is sometimes called the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.

What does the RSDI program do?

The RSDI program provides qualifying California residents with income to replace lost income if they are hurt and cannot return to work or lose a family member who was working or receiving disability benefits. You may qualify for RSDI either before or after retirement.

The purpose of RSDI insurance is to provide benefits to individuals and families who lose one of their main sources of income.

As the name suggests, there are three types of benefits you may qualify for under the RDI program: retirement, survivor or disability benefits. There are different requirements for each program.

Retirement benefits

To qualify for retirement benefits, you must be at least 62 years old and want the benefits to start within four months. You must not be receiving Social Security benefits and must not have applied for other retirement benefits. You must also have a specific number of work credits.

If you apply for retirement benefits when you are 62, your benefits could be reduced because of the early payments. Alternatively, you can wait until age 70 to apply for benefits and potentially receive a greater amount.

Survivor benefits

Qualifying for survivor benefits requires you to be a widow or a widower when you reach retirement age or a widow or widower supporting a minor. Divorced spouses who are least 60 years old may qualify if the marriage lasted at least 10 years.

Additionally, disabled children could potentially qualify for survivor benefits if their parents have low income or resources. In some cases, stepchildren, adopted children or grandchildren could receive survivor benefits. There are some exceptions to these rules if individuals are disabled.

Disability benefits

The requirements for disabled individuals to qualify for disability benefits are being at least 18 years old and unable to work because of a medical problem.

The medical problem must be one that is expected to last for at least one year or ultimately end in death. If you are receiving your own Social Security benefits, you may be denied disability benefits. Any denials within the past 60 days could also prevent you from qualifying.

In addition to these basic requirements, your eligibility for benefits and the amount you receive depends on factors including your age, work history and average lifetime earnings.

Appealing a denial

There are various reasons that applications for RSDI insurance are denied. Some are minor, such as not providing all required information or forgetting to send in certain documentation.

Others are major, such as a determination that you are not suffering from a medical problem that qualifies you for benefits.

You have the right to appeal a denial. It is generally recommended that you appeal, since many initial denials are overturned on appeal.