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Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI)

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers a program that provides monthly benefits (also known as Social Security benefits) to qualified individuals who are retired or disabled.  The dependents of eligible beneficiaries, as well as the surviving dependents of deceased workers, can also receive monthly benefits. Employees and their employers and self-employed workers fund Social Security benefits through Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes or Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) taxes.  These tax revenues are held in the Social Security trust funds to pay benefits.

Agency Accountable Official: Carolyn Colvin, Deputy Commissioner of Social Security



Total Payments (Outlays)more info


Improper Paymentsmore info


Improper Payment Ratemore info


0.4% Improper Payment Rate Target more info

All amounts are in billions of dollars

Tabular view for Projected improper payments Tabular View   

Program Comments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is committed to making accurate benefit payments. The administration strives to balance increasing retirement and disability workloads with program integrity activities to ensure that beneficiaries of retirement, survivors, and disability benefits meet eligibility requirements.

To determine payment accuracy, SSA samples program beneficiaries to make certain they are being paid correctly.  SSA uses statistically valid sampling to determine the program's payment accuracy rates.

The RSDI program accuracy rates, for both overpayments and underpayments, have consistently exceeded 99.5%.  The administration attributes this success to longstanding business practices.  For example, SSA conducts a variety of electronic matches with federal, state, and local agencies to validate records and provide information that could affect an individual’s payment amount or ongoing eligibility for benefits.  The primary reason that overpayments occur is that disabled beneficiaries who return to work frequently fail to advise SSA of their changed status even though they no longer qualify for benefits.  To address this issue, SSA is exploring ways to provide automated and early notification. Read More...