Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 65 No. 3
This article assesses the role of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the economic well-being of baby-boomer retirees and their predecessors. The results suggest that, similar to current retirees, Social Security will account for about two-fifths of projected income for baby-boomer retirees. On average, SSI will contribute almost nothing to total income and will be received by fewer baby-boomer retirees than by current retirees. Although baby boomers can expect higher incomes and lower poverty rates at retirement than current retirees have, they can also expect lower replacement rates. The decline in replacement rates is driven, in part, by a decline in Social Security replacement rates.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program serves as both a safety net and a way station for families with disabilities. According to most studies, at least a third of all households receiving these benefits include an adult or child with a disability. Surveys have found that persons with disabilities receiving these benefits were less likely to be working. Sanctioning rates of these families exceed those for families without disabilities, and continuing poverty is more common among cases that close. There is overlap between this welfare program and Supplemental Security Income; more than one out of every six of these families included a recipient of Supplemental Security Income in 2002.
Despite increased labor force participation rates among women and reforms under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, widowhood remains an important risk factor for transition into poverty, although somewhat less so than 20 years ago. Women widowed at younger ages are at greatest risk for economic hardship after widowhood, and their situation declines with the duration of widowhood. We also find that women in households that are least prepared financially for widowhood are at greatest risk of a husband's death, because of the strong relationship between mortality and wealth.
We use public-use microdata linked to Social Security Administration records to reexamine the impact of the Supplemental Security Income program on work disincentives among older individuals nearing the age of eligibility for Supplemental Security Income for the aged and likely to use the program. The administrative records provide significant advantages relative to past research and yield strong evidence that the Supplemental Security Income program induces some individuals nearing the age of eligibility to reduce their labor supply.