Social Security is the foundation of retirement and disability income support in the United States.  Three key programs operate in an environment of changing demographics, population health, longevity, labor markets, economic conditions, government finances, household finances, and related public and private programs.

  • The age-based program, Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), provides monthly income to 52 million retired workers, dependents, and survivors.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) provides income to people who develop severe work-limiting disabilities.
  • The Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) provides income to low-income adults and children with disabilities regardless of work history, as well as to low-income people over age 65.


RDRC affiliated researchers, from universities throughout the United States as well as abroad, conduct research with an emphasis on five key areas:


1. Enrollment Trends and Determinants

  • Disability Incidence and SSDI/SSI Enrollment
  • Demographics and OASDI Enrollment
  • Economic Conditions and Labor Markets

2. Measuring Sources of Income and Adequacy

  • Financial Wellbeing of Program Beneficiaries
  • Low-Income Households and Financial Distress
  • Retirement Savings

3. Labor Force Participation

  • Social Security and Retirement
  • Disability, Disability Policy and Work
  • Workplace Accommodations

4. Program Operations

  • Communication and Behavior
  • Disability Application Review and Screening
  • Informing Projections

5. Related Programs and Program Interactions

  • Pension Programs
  • Other Disability Insurance Programs
  • Health Insurance
  • Other Programs and Policies