Demographic Characteristics

Age

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants, 2010 Update
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-02 (released February 2014)
by Michelle Stegman Bailey and Jeffrey Hemmeter

The authors use data from the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) matched to Social Security administrative records to produce tables providing detailed information on the economic and demographic characteristics of Disability Insurance beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients in December 2010. The tables update those published in a 2008 Research and Statistics Note that used 2002 SIPP data.

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)
by Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy

The authors use American Community Survey (ACS) data to compare Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program participation and benefit levels of African Americans with those of the general population. The ACS data show that African Americans are more likely to be Supplemental Security Income recipients, and less likely to be Social Security beneficiaries. Higher rates of poverty, disability, and mortality among African Americans mean that they are also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than are other beneficiaries.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In November 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure and is intended to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. First, we look at how the SPM and official estimates differ for various aged and nonaged groups. Then, we look at why the SPM poverty rate for the aged is much higher than the official rate.

Growth in New Disabled-Worker Entitlements, 1970–2008
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by David Pattison and Hilary Waldron

We find that three factors—(1) population growth, (2) the growth in the proportion of women insured for disability, and (3) the movement of the large baby boom generation into disability-prone ages—explain 90 percent of the growth in new disabled-worker entitlements over the 36-year subperiod (1972–2008). The remaining 10 percent is the part attributable to the disability “incidence rate.” Looking at the two subperiods (1972–1990 and 1990–2008), unadjusted measures appear to show faster growth in the incidence rate in the later period than in the earlier one. This apparent speedup disappears once we account for the changing demographic structure of the insured population. Although the adjusted growth in the incidence rate accounts for 17 percent of the growth in disability entitlements in the earlier subperiod, it accounts for only 6 percent of the growth in the more recent half. Demographic factors explain the remaining 94 percent of growth over the 1990–2008 period.

The Projected Effects of Social Security Benefit Increase Options for Older Beneficiaries
Policy Brief No. 2013-01 (released October 2013)
by Kevin Whitman and Dave Shoffner

In conjunction with larger Social Security solvency plans, many policymakers have proposed introducing benefit increases for older beneficiaries. This brief analyzes the projected effects of two such policy options on beneficiaries aged 85 or older in 2030 using the Modeling Income in the Near Term model. Both options target older beneficiaries' primary insurance amounts for a 5 percent increase, but they differ in how the increase would be calculated. Both proposals would increase monthly benefits for nearly all older beneficiaries, and both would reduce poverty levels among the aged, relative to currently scheduled benefits. However, the options differ in how the benefit increases would be distributed among older beneficiaries across shared lifetime earnings quintiles.

Social Security Income Measurement in Two Surveys
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 3 (released August 2013)
by Howard M. Iams and Patrick J. Purcell

The deduction of Medicare premiums from Social Security benefit payments complicates the estimation of Social Security income in household surveys. Although the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) both aim to collect and record gross Social Security benefit income before Medicare premium deductions, comparing the survey data with Social Security records indicates that the CPS and SIPP estimates differ and suggests that some survey respondents may report net benefit income.

The Impact of Retirement Account Distributions on Measures of Family Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 2 (released May 2013)
by Howard M. Iams and Patrick J. Purcell

The income of the aged is composed largely of Social Security benefits, asset income, and pension income. Over the past three decades, the primary form of employer-sponsored pension has shifted from the traditional defined benefit plan to defined contribution plans, such as the 401(k). That trend creates problems for measuring the income of the aged because most household surveys of income either do not collect information about distributions from defined contribution retirement accounts or do not include those distributions in their summary measures of income. This article examines the impact of including distributions from retirement accounts on the estimated income of families headed by persons aged 65 or older.

Outcome Variation in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program: The Role of Primary Diagnoses
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 2 (released May 2013)
by Javier Meseguer

This article investigates the role that primary impairments play in explaining heterogeneity in disability decisions. Using claimant-level data within a hierarchical framework, the author explores variation in outcomes along three dimensions: state of origin, adjudicative stage, and primary diagnosis. The findings indicate that the impairments account for a substantial portion of claimant-level variation in initial allowances. Furthermore, the author finds that the predictions of an initial and a final allowance are highly correlated when applicants are grouped by impairment. In other words, diagnoses that are more likely to result in an initial allowance also tend to be more likely to receive a final allowance.

Psychosocial Factors and Financial Literacy
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by John L. Murphy

This article explores how psychosocial variables relate to financial literacy. Although prior research has examined mainstay economic variables, this study examines whether previously unexplored variables—financial satisfaction, hopelessness, and religiosity—impact financial literacy. The study uses Health and Retirement Study data and finds that financial satisfaction and religiosity are associated with financial literacy.

Modeling Behavioral Responses to Eliminating the Retirement Earnings Test
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Anya Olsen and Kathleen Romig

The retirement earnings test (RET) is an often-misunderstood aspect of the Social Security program. Policymakers have proposed reforming the RET as a way to encourage working at older ages. However, this could also cause earlier benefit claiming. We use Modeling Income in the Near Term data to analyze the complete repeal of the earnings test for beneficiaries aged 60 or older, first assuming no behavioral responses to repeal and secondly assuming changes to benefit claiming and workforce participation behaviors. Our lifetime results show that the assumed behavioral response—particularly the benefit claiming change—has a bigger effect than the RET policy change itself.

Mortality Differentials by Lifetime Earnings Decile: Implications for Evaluations of Proposed Social Security Law Changes
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Hilary Waldron

Under current law, the link between earnings and benefit levels and the equal application of age-of-entitlement rules, regardless of earnings levels, means that a worker is never penalized for additional work or thrift. This article finds that the Social Security–insured population does not fall neatly into a low-earnings poor health group and a remaining good health group. Attempts to target a subset of badly disadvantaged workers by altering the benefit rules that apply equally to everyone could both miss the intended target and introduce work disincentives into a program currently designed to reward work.

Factors Affecting Initial Disability Allowance Rates for the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Programs: The Role of the Demographic and Diagnostic Composition of Applicants and Local Labor Market Conditions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 4 (released November 2012)
by Kalman Rupp

Various factors outside the control of decision makers may affect the rate at which disability applications are allowed or denied during the initial step of eligibility determination in the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. This article, using individual-level data on applications, focuses on the role of three important factors—the demographic characteristics of applicants, the diagnostic mix of applicants, and the local unemployment rate—in affecting the probability of an initial allowance and state allowance rates. A random sample of initial determination administrative records for the 1993–2008 period is used for the analysis in a fixed-effects multiple regression framework. The empirical results show that the demographic and diagnostic characteristics of applicants and the local unemployment rate substantially affect the initial allowance rate. An increase in the local unemployment rate tends to be associated with a decrease in the initial allowance rate. This negative relationship holds for adult applicants in both the DI and SSI programs and for SSI childhood applicants.

Profile of Social Security Disabled Workers and Dependents Who Have a Connection to Workers' Compensation or Public Disability Benefits
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-03 (released September 2012)
by Rene Parent, Incigul Sayman, and Kevin Kulzer

This note provides a comprehensive profile of the characteristics of disability beneficiaries with a connection to workers' compensation or public disability benefits (PDBs). The 8.3 percent of disabled workers who have this connection tend to be economically better off, more frequently middle aged, male, afflicted with a musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorder, and tend to wait longer to apply for social security disability benefits after onset than the general disabled-worker population. In our analysis, we have included a special focus on California, as this state represents a large portion of the PDB workload, and its experience has a substantial effect on the national picture.

Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Paul O'Leary, Leslie I. Boden, Seth A. Seabury, Al Ozonoff, and Ethan Scherer

Workplace injuries and illnesses are an important cause of disability. States have designed their workers' compensation programs to provide cash and medical-care benefits for those injuries and illnesses, but people who become disabled at work may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and related Medicare benefits. This article uses matched state workers' compensation and Social Security data to estimate whether workplace injuries and illnesses increase the probability of receiving DI benefits and whether people who become DI beneficiaries receive benefits at younger ages.

The Implications of Marital History Change on Women's Eligibility for Social Security Wife and Widow Benefits, 1990–2009
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 2 (released May 2012)
by Howard M. Iams and Christopher R. Tamborini

Social Security retirement-age benefits in the United States reflect marital histories and lifetime earnings of current and former married couples. We examine women's marital history patterns and spouse and widow benefit eligibility over the past two decades, 1990 and 2009. Our analysis reveals substantial changes in women's marital patterns among the baby boom and generation X cohorts. We find a substantial decline in qualifying marital histories for Social Security spouse and widow benefits. The results reveal considerable variation by race and Hispanic origin.

Comparing Earnings Estimates from the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File and the Annual Statistical Supplement
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-01 (released January 2012)
by Michael Compson

The Social Security Administration recently released the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File (EPUF). The EPUF contains earnings information for individuals drawn from a systematic random 1-percent sample of all Social Security numbers issued before January 2007. This note presents the process of evaluating the earnings data in EPUF. It also identifies and explains four key differences between the data in EPUF and the estimates published in the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin. The note specifically compares EPUF data with Annual Statistical Supplement estimates of earnings, number of workers with earnings, median earnings by sex and age group, and percentage of workers with earnings below the taxable maximum by sex. After accounting for the expected differences, the remaining discrepancies between EPUF and Annual Statistical Supplement estimates are relatively small.

The 2006 Earnings Public-Use Microdata File: An Introduction
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 4 (released November 2011)
by Michael Compson

This article introduces the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File (EPUF), a data file containing earnings records for individuals drawn from a 1-percent sample of all Social Security numbers issued before January 2007. The EPUF contains selected demographic and earnings information for 4.3 million individuals. It provides aggregate earnings data for 1937 to 1950 and annual earnings data for 1951 to 2006.

Longitudinal Statistics on Work Activity and Use of Employment Supports for New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Su Liu and David C. Stapleton

Longitudinal statistics on the employment activities of Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries offer a different perspective than the Social Security Administration's published statistics, which are based on annual data, and have important policy implications.

Employment among Social Security Disability Program Beneficiaries, 1996–2007
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Arif Mamun, Paul O'Leary, David C. Wittenburg, and Jesse Gregory

Using linked administrative data from program and earnings records, we summarize the 2007 employment rates of working-age (18–64) Social Security disability program beneficiaries at the national and state levels, as well as changes in employment since 1996. Substantial variation exists within the population. Disability Insurance beneficiaries and those younger than age 40 were much more likely to work relative to other Social Security beneficiaries. There are also strong regional differences in the employment rates among disability beneficiaries of working age, and these differences are persistent over time.

Military Veterans and Social Security: 2010 Update
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Anya Olsen and Samantha O'Leary

More than one 1 of 5 adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military, and veterans and their families comprise 35 percent of the beneficiary population. Using data from the March 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), this article presents the sociodemographic characteristics of the veteran beneficiary and the total veteran populations. The article draws comparisons with findings from the March 2000 CPS and the March 2004 CPS, and describes trends in the size and demographic makeup of the veteran population using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs' VetPop2007 projection model.

Distributional Effects of Reducing the Social Security Benefit Formula
Policy Brief No. 2010-02 (released November 2010)
by Glenn R. Springstead

A person's Social Security benefit, or primary insurance amount (PIA), is 90 percent of the lowest portion of lifetime earnings, plus 32 percent of the middle portion of lifetime earnings, plus 15 percent of the highest portion of lifetime earnings. This policy brief analyzes the distributional effects of three options (the three-point, five-point and upper) discussed by the Social Security Advisory Board to reduce the PIA. The first option would reduce the PIA by 3 percentage points; the second would reduce it by 5 percentage points; and the third would reduce the 32 and 15 percentages of the PIA to 21 and 10 percent, respectively. The third option would exempt about one quarter of the lowest earning beneficiaries, while reducing benefits by a median average of 19 percent in 2070. None would eliminate Social Security's long-term fiscal imbalance, although the third option would eliminate more (76 percent) of the deficit than the three-point (18 percent) and five-point (31 percent) options.

Retiring in Debt? An Update on the 2007 Near-Retiree Cohort
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 4 (released November 2010)
by Chris E. Anguelov and Christopher R. Tamborini

This research note uses 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) data to update work reported in an earlier article, "Retiring in Debt? Differences between the 1995 and 2004 Near-Retiree Cohorts." The analysis documents whether there have been changes in the debt holdings of near-retirees in 2007, a point in time reflecting the start of the recent financial and economic crisis, relative to 2004. Results show that near-retirees' debt levels in 2007 were modestly higher than in 2004, overall and across a number of subgroups. The results do not capture the full impact of the financial crisis, which manifested at the end of 2007 and in 2008.

Elderly Poverty and Supplemental Security Income, 2002–2005
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 2 (released May 2010)
by Joyce Nicholas and Michael Wiseman

This article is an extension of work reported in an earlier article entitled, "Elderly Poverty and Supplemental Security Income" (Social Security Bulletin 69(1): 45–73). Like the original work, the present study looks at the consequences of obtaining estimates of the prevalence of poverty among persons aged 65 or older by using administrative data to adjust incomes reported in the Current Population Survey. The original article looked at incomes in 2002; the present one covers measures of absolute and relative poverty status of the elderly during the 2003–2005 period. Again, we find that inclusion of administrative data presents challenges, but under the methodology we adopt, such adjustments lower estimated official poverty overall and increase estimated poverty rates for elderly SSI recipients by correcting for the misreporting of SSI, OASDI, and earnings receipt by CPS respondents.

The Age-18 Redetermination and Postredetermination Participation in SSI
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 4 (released December 2009)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter and Elaine Gilby

This article describes the outcomes of the redetermination of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility when a child recipient reaches age 18. Statistics on the characteristics of youth whose eligibility is redetermined are presented using 8 years of administrative data, and the relationship between these characteristics and both an initial cessation decision and a successful appeal or reapplication for SSI are discussed.

The Research Contributions of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 4 (released December 2009)
by Steven A. Sass

This article reviews the research contributions of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College over its 10-year history and their implications for Social Security and retirement income policy in three major areas: (1) Social Security's long-term financing shortfall, (2) the adequacy of retirement incomes, and (3) labor force participation at older ages as a means to improve retirement income security. The center has received substantial funding support from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in each area and has also successfully leveraged SSA's investment by attracting funding from other sources.

An Empirical Study of the Effects of Social Security Reforms on Benefit Claiming Behavior and Receipt Using Public-Use Administrative Microdata
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 3 (released October 2009)
by Hugo Benítez-Silva and Na Yin

In the past few years, the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance benefit system in the United States has undergone some of the most significant changes since its inception. Using the public-use microdata extract from the Master Beneficiary Record, we are able to uncover a number of interesting trends in benefit claiming behavior and level of benefit receipt, which can help us understand how the changes in the system are shaping the retirement benefit claiming behavior of older Americans.

Retiring in Debt? Differences between the 1995 and 2004 Near-Retiree Cohorts
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 2 (released July 2009)
by Chris E. Anguelov and Christopher R. Tamborini

This article uses the U.S. Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances to examine near retirees' (aged 50 to 61) debt holdings in 1995 and 2004. Employing a variety of measures on household borrowing, our results show that near retirees in 2004—the leading edge of the baby-boom cohort—had more consumer and housing debt than their counterparts in 1995. We observe a modest increase in the median debt service and debt-to-assets ratios between the two cohorts, but no statistical difference in their respective average. Analysis of several demographic and socioeconomic subgroups reveals certain population segments, such as single female households, with significantly higher debt service ratios in 2004.

Estimated Retirement Benefits in the Social Security Statement
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-05 (released November 2008)
by Glenn R. Springstead, David A. Weaver, and Jason J. Fichtner
Alternate Measures of Replacement Rates for Social Security Benefits and Retirement Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 2 (released October 2008)
by Andrew G. Biggs and Glenn R. Springstead

Replacement rates are common and useful tools used by individuals and policy analysts to plan for retirement and assess the sufficiency of Social Security benefits and overall retirement income. Because the calculation and meaning of replacement rates differs depending on the definition of preretirement earnings, this article examines four alternative measures: final preretirement earnings, constant income payable from the present value of lifetime earnings (PV payment), wage-indexed average of lifetime earnings, and inflation-adjusted average of lifetime earnings (CPI average). The article also calculates replacement rates for Social Security beneficiaries aged 64–66 in 2005.

Social Security Beneficiaries Affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision in 2006
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 2 (released October 2008)
by Barbara A. Lingg

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is a method of computing benefits for some workers who receive a pension based on non-Social Security covered work. At the end of 2006, about 970,000 beneficiaries, mainly retired workers, were affected by the WEP. This article provides a brief legislative history, describes the WEP computation, and presents statistical data about beneficiaries affected by the WEP.

Estimating the First Instance of Substantive-Covered Earnings in the Labor Market
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-04 (released September 2008)
by Michael Compson
Disability Benefit Coverage and Program Interactions in the Working-Age Population
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 1 (released August 2008)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, and Alexander Strand

It is widely known that about three-fourths of the working-age population is insured for Disability Insurance (DI), but the substantial role played by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program in providing disability benefit coverage is not well understood. Using data from the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) we find that over one-third (36 percent) of the working-age population is covered by SSI in the event of a severe disability. Three important implications follow: (1) SSI increases the overall coverage of the working-age population; (2) SSI enhances the bundle of cash benefits available to disabled individuals; and (3) interactions with other public programs—most notably the SSI path to Medicaid coverage—also enhance the safety net. Ignoring these implications could lead to inaccurate inferences in analytic studies.

Disabled Workers and the Indexing of Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Alexander Strand and Kalman Rupp

This article presents the distributional effects of changing the Social Security indexing scheme, with an emphasis on the effects upon disabled-worker beneficiaries. Although a class of reform proposals that would slow the rate of growth of initial benefit levels over time—including price indexing and longevity indexing—initially appear to affect all beneficiaries proportionally, there can be different impacts on different groups of beneficiaries. The impacts between and within groups are mitigated by (1) the offsetting effect of changes in Supplemental Security Income benefits at the lower tail of the income distribution, and (2) the dampening effect of other family income at the upper tail of the income distribution. The authors present estimates of the size of these effects.

Effective Retirement Savings Programs: Design Features and Financial Education
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Anya Olsen and Kevin Whitman

This article provides an overview of the literature on best practices for retirement savings plan design and financial education in the workplace. Without a successful plan design, financial education will not be effective and even a well-structured plan can fail to achieve retirement savings goals without financial education. The main components of a retirement savings program that employers must consider include options for enrollment, investment choices, employer matching of contributions, and distributions over the working career and at retirement. In addition, employers control the core aspects of financial education, such as the topics covered, the delivery methods used, the frequency with which it is offered, and its general availability.

Measuring the Relative Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by T. Lynn Fisher

Provided is a discussion of the cumulative effects of the measurement alternatives described in the three previous articles: considering family income of persons rather than aged units, using administrative data in place of survey reported data, and switching the data source from CPS to SIPP. The current-methodology CPS statistic of 17.9 percent of beneficiary aged units receiving all of their income from Social Security in 1996 falls to a substantially smaller estimated 4.5 percent of elderly beneficiary persons based on family income when using the SIPP and Social Security administrative data.

Hispanics, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article uses a relatively new data source—the American Community Survey (ACS) to document the economic and demographic characteristics of the Hispanic population in the United States. Although the article focuses on Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, other segments of the population are also examined. The ACS data show that the Hispanic population is significantly different from the overall population, particularly with regard to age distribution, education, and economic well-being.

The Impact of Survey Choice on Measuring the Relative Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by T. Lynn Fisher

This article provides insight into how measures of elderly economic well-being are sensitive to the survey data source. In Social Security Administration's publication Income of the Population 55 or Older, data are based on the national Current Population Survey (CPS). The preciseness of the survey statistics depends upon the willingness and ability of CPS respondents to answer questions accurately. This article contrasts income statistics calculated using the CPS and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Administrative data for Social Security benefits and SSI are also used to evaluate the accuracy of the income estimates.

The Impact of the Unit of Observation on the Measurement of the Relative Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by T. Lynn Fisher

Other publications using the same data source as Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2004 have produced different statistics for income and the relative importance of Social Security that appear contradictory. Depending on the unit of observation and whose income is considered, the estimates of the percentage of the elderly receiving all of their income from Social Security in 2004 varies from 13 percent to 22 percent. This article explains how the choice of the unit of observation impacts measures of the relative importance of Social Security benefits for the elderly.

Estimates of Unreported Asset Income in the Survey of Consumer Finances and the Relative Importance of Social Security Benefits to the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by T. Lynn Fisher

Through the 1990s and the early 2000s, the Income of the Population 55 or Older has reported a decline in the proportion of the elderly receiving asset income and the corresponding rise in the proportion receiving all of their income from Social Security. This analysis uses the Survey of Consumer Finances from 1992 to 2001 to examine financial asset holdings of the elderly and to determine if those who do not report asset income in fact might hold assets that are likely to generate income. Imputing asset income from likely income-producing holdings, the article examines the impact of probable missing asset income information upon measures of elderly income.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)
by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
A Profile of Children with Disabilities Receiving SSI: Highlights from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, Chad Newcomb, Howard M. Iams, Carrie Becker, Shanti Mulpuru, Stephen Ressler, Kathleen Romig, and Baylor Miller

This article, based on interviews from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families conducted between July 2001 and June 2002, presents a profile of children under the age of 18 who were receiving support from the Supplemental Security Income program. The topics highlighted provide information of SSI children with disabilities and their families not available from administrative records, including demographic characteristics, income and assets, perceived health and disabilities, and health care utilization. While virtually every child in the SSI program is covered by some form of health insurance, primarily Medicaid, the data indicate substantial heterogeneity on other variables. This is true on many different dimensions, such as the perceived severity of the child's disabling conditions, health care utilization and service needs, the presence of other family members with disabilities, family demographics, and access to non-SSI sources of incomes.

Military Veterans and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Anya Olsen

About one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the United States military, making military veterans and their families an important group to study. This article provides information on the demographic characteristics of military veterans, including their age, sex, marital status, education, and race and ethnicity. It also examines their economic status by looking at poverty levels and Social Security benefit payments. Information is based on data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Poverty-level Annuitization Requirements in Social Security Proposals Incorporating Personal Retirement Accounts
Issue Paper No. 2005-01 (released April 2005)
by Dave Shoffner, Andrew G. Biggs, and Preston Jacobs

In the current discussions of Social Security reform, voluntary personal retirement accounts have been proposed. Recent research and debate have focused on several aspects of these accounts, including how such accounts would affect aggregate saving, system finances, and benefit levels. Little attention, however, has been paid to policies that would govern the distribution of account balances. This analysis considers such policies with respect to the annuitization of account balances at retirement using the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the New Term (MINT) model and a modified version of a recent legislative proposal to evaluate the effects of partial annuitization requirements.

Comparing Replacement Rates Under Private and Federal Retirement Systems
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 65 No. 1 (released May 2004)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article presents a comparison of replacement rates for employees of medium and large private establishments to replacement rates for federal employees under the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System. This analysis shows the possibility of replacement rates exceeding 100 percent for FERS employees who contribute 6 percent of earnings to the Thrift Savings Plan over a full working career. Private-sector replacement rates were quite similar for workers with both a defined benefit and a defined contribution pension plan.

Application of Experimental Poverty Measures to the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 62 No. 3 (released January 2000)
by Kelly A. Olsen

This article examines poverty among persons aged 65 or older under experimental measures, which are based on a 1995 report released by the National Academy of Sciences. When compared with the official measure, the experimental measure produces higher poverty rates for all groups and narrower differences in poverty rates across groups.

Pension Coverage Among the Baby Boomers: Initial Findings From a 1993 Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 57 No. 3 (released July 1994)
by John R. Woods
Life Expectancy and Health Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49 No. 10 (released October 1986)
by Steven H. Chapman, Mitchell P. LaPlante, and Gail Wilensky
National Survey of the Black Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 41 No. 7 (released July 1978)
by Ethel Shanas and Gloria Heinemann
Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Elderly: Some Black-White Differences
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40 No. 7 (released July 1977)
by Julian Abbott
Family Structure in the Preretirement Years
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 36 No. 10 (released October 1973)
by Janet H. Murray
Living Arrangements of People Aged 65 and Older: Findings from 1968 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 34 No. 9 (released September 1971)
by Janet H. Murray
Characteristics of 'New' Old-Age Assistance Recipients, 1965
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 31 No. 7 (released July 1968)
by Philip Frohlich
The Aged, Family and Friends
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 28 No. 11 (released November 1965)
by Irving Rosow
Differences in Sources and Size of Income: Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 28 No. 5 (released May 1965)
by Erdman Palmore
Age and Sex of Persons Receiving Both OASI Benefits and OAA Payments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 10 (released October 1963)
by Robert J. Myers
Age of Workers in Covered Employment: Industry Differences, 1949
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16 No. 4 (released April 1953)
by Anna Bercowitz
Estimates of Aged Population, by State, 1940–48
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1 (released January 1949)
Age Distribution of Workers in Industries Under Old-Age and Survivors Insurance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 3 (released March 1947)
by George H. Trafton
Aged Beneficiaries, Assistance Recipients, and the Aged in the General Population
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 6 (released June 1946)
by Jacob Fisher
Age and Sex Differentials in Taxable Wages Reported for 1937
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 6 (released June 1939)
by Max J. Wasserman and Katherine D. Wood
Age, Sex, and Color of Applicants for Account Numbers
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 9 (released September 1938)

Health

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)
by Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy

The authors use American Community Survey (ACS) data to compare Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program participation and benefit levels of African Americans with those of the general population. The ACS data show that African Americans are more likely to be Supplemental Security Income recipients, and less likely to be Social Security beneficiaries. Higher rates of poverty, disability, and mortality among African Americans mean that they are also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than are other beneficiaries.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In November 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure and is intended to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. First, we look at how the SPM and official estimates differ for various aged and nonaged groups. Then, we look at why the SPM poverty rate for the aged is much higher than the official rate.

Outcome Variation in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program: The Role of Primary Diagnoses
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 2 (released May 2013)
by Javier Meseguer

This article investigates the role that primary impairments play in explaining heterogeneity in disability decisions. Using claimant-level data within a hierarchical framework, the author explores variation in outcomes along three dimensions: state of origin, adjudicative stage, and primary diagnosis. The findings indicate that the impairments account for a substantial portion of claimant-level variation in initial allowances. Furthermore, the author finds that the predictions of an initial and a final allowance are highly correlated when applicants are grouped by impairment. In other words, diagnoses that are more likely to result in an initial allowance also tend to be more likely to receive a final allowance.

Factors Affecting Initial Disability Allowance Rates for the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Programs: The Role of the Demographic and Diagnostic Composition of Applicants and Local Labor Market Conditions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 4 (released November 2012)
by Kalman Rupp

Various factors outside the control of decision makers may affect the rate at which disability applications are allowed or denied during the initial step of eligibility determination in the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. This article, using individual-level data on applications, focuses on the role of three important factors—the demographic characteristics of applicants, the diagnostic mix of applicants, and the local unemployment rate—in affecting the probability of an initial allowance and state allowance rates. A random sample of initial determination administrative records for the 1993–2008 period is used for the analysis in a fixed-effects multiple regression framework. The empirical results show that the demographic and diagnostic characteristics of applicants and the local unemployment rate substantially affect the initial allowance rate. An increase in the local unemployment rate tends to be associated with a decrease in the initial allowance rate. This negative relationship holds for adult applicants in both the DI and SSI programs and for SSI childhood applicants.

Profile of Social Security Disabled Workers and Dependents Who Have a Connection to Workers' Compensation or Public Disability Benefits
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-03 (released September 2012)
by Rene Parent, Incigul Sayman, and Kevin Kulzer

This note provides a comprehensive profile of the characteristics of disability beneficiaries with a connection to workers' compensation or public disability benefits (PDBs). The 8.3 percent of disabled workers who have this connection tend to be economically better off, more frequently middle aged, male, afflicted with a musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorder, and tend to wait longer to apply for social security disability benefits after onset than the general disabled-worker population. In our analysis, we have included a special focus on California, as this state represents a large portion of the PDB workload, and its experience has a substantial effect on the national picture.

Longitudinal Patterns of Medicaid and Medicare Coverage Among Disability Cash Benefit Awardees
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Kalman Rupp and Gerald F. Riley

This article analyzes the effect of longitudinal interactions between the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs in providing access to Medicare and Medicaid, using a sample of administrative records spanning 84 months. Our study is the first effort to link and analyze record data on participation in all four of these major, and highly interrelated, public benefit programs in the United States. We find that SSI facilitates high levels of Medicaid coverage for SSI awardees overall and provides access to Medicaid for many DI awardees during the 24-month Medicare waiting period. Many people who exit SSI retain their Medicaid coverage, but the gap in coverage between continuing SSI participants and those who leave the program increases over time. After Medicare kicks in, public health insurance coverage is virtually complete among awardees with some DI involvement, including dual Medicaid and Medicare coverage for some.

Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Paul O'Leary, Leslie I. Boden, Seth A. Seabury, Al Ozonoff, and Ethan Scherer

Workplace injuries and illnesses are an important cause of disability. States have designed their workers' compensation programs to provide cash and medical-care benefits for those injuries and illnesses, but people who become disabled at work may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and related Medicare benefits. This article uses matched state workers' compensation and Social Security data to estimate whether workplace injuries and illnesses increase the probability of receiving DI benefits and whether people who become DI beneficiaries receive benefits at younger ages.

Expanding Access to Health Care for Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries: Early Findings from the Accelerated Benefits Demonstration
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 4 (released November 2010)
by Robert R. Weathers II, Chris Silanskis, Michelle Stegman, John Jones, and Susan Kalasunas

The Accelerated Benefits (AB) demonstration project provides health benefits to Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries who have no health insurance during the 24-month period most beneficiaries are required to wait before Medicare benefits begin. This article describes the project and presents baseline survey results on health insurance coverage among newly entitled beneficiaries and the characteristics of those without coverage. A 6-month follow-up survey provides information on the effects of the AB health benefits package on health care utilization and on reducing unmet medical needs. The article also reports the costs of providing the health benefits package during the 24-month Medicare waiting period.

Disability Benefit Coverage and Program Interactions in the Working-Age Population
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 1 (released August 2008)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, and Alexander Strand

It is widely known that about three-fourths of the working-age population is insured for Disability Insurance (DI), but the substantial role played by the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program in providing disability benefit coverage is not well understood. Using data from the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) we find that over one-third (36 percent) of the working-age population is covered by SSI in the event of a severe disability. Three important implications follow: (1) SSI increases the overall coverage of the working-age population; (2) SSI enhances the bundle of cash benefits available to disabled individuals; and (3) interactions with other public programs—most notably the SSI path to Medicaid coverage—also enhance the safety net. Ignoring these implications could lead to inaccurate inferences in analytic studies.

Disabled Workers and the Indexing of Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Alexander Strand and Kalman Rupp

This article presents the distributional effects of changing the Social Security indexing scheme, with an emphasis on the effects upon disabled-worker beneficiaries. Although a class of reform proposals that would slow the rate of growth of initial benefit levels over time—including price indexing and longevity indexing—initially appear to affect all beneficiaries proportionally, there can be different impacts on different groups of beneficiaries. The impacts between and within groups are mitigated by (1) the offsetting effect of changes in Supplemental Security Income benefits at the lower tail of the income distribution, and (2) the dampening effect of other family income at the upper tail of the income distribution. The authors present estimates of the size of these effects.

Trends in Mortality Differentials and Life Expectancy for Male Social Security-Covered Workers, by Socioeconomic Status
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Hilary Waldron

This article presents an analysis of trends in mortality differentials and life expectancy by socioeconomic status for male Social Security-covered workers aged 60 or older. Mortality differentials, cohort life expectancies, and period life expectancies by average relative earnings are estimated. Period life expectancy estimates for the United States are also compared with those of other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Hispanics, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article uses a relatively new data source—the American Community Survey (ACS) to document the economic and demographic characteristics of the Hispanic population in the United States. Although the article focuses on Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, other segments of the population are also examined. The ACS data show that the Hispanic population is significantly different from the overall population, particularly with regard to age distribution, education, and economic well-being.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)
by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
A Profile of Children with Disabilities Receiving SSI: Highlights from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, Chad Newcomb, Howard M. Iams, Carrie Becker, Shanti Mulpuru, Stephen Ressler, Kathleen Romig, and Baylor Miller

This article, based on interviews from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families conducted between July 2001 and June 2002, presents a profile of children under the age of 18 who were receiving support from the Supplemental Security Income program. The topics highlighted provide information of SSI children with disabilities and their families not available from administrative records, including demographic characteristics, income and assets, perceived health and disabilities, and health care utilization. While virtually every child in the SSI program is covered by some form of health insurance, primarily Medicaid, the data indicate substantial heterogeneity on other variables. This is true on many different dimensions, such as the perceived severity of the child's disabling conditions, health care utilization and service needs, the presence of other family members with disabilities, family demographics, and access to non-SSI sources of incomes.

Military Veterans and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Anya Olsen

About one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the United States military, making military veterans and their families an important group to study. This article provides information on the demographic characteristics of military veterans, including their age, sex, marital status, education, and race and ethnicity. It also examines their economic status by looking at poverty levels and Social Security benefit payments. Information is based on data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Early Retirees Under Social Security: Health Status and Economic Resources
ORES Working Paper No. 86 (released August 2000)
by Michael V. Leonesio, Denton R. Vaughan, and Bernard Wixon

Some proposals to change the Social Security program to ensure long-run solvency would reduce or eliminate benefits to some early retirees. To what extent might those benefit reductions cause hardship for individuals with precarious financial circumstances and whose health appears to limit their ability to offset reductions in Social Security income through increased earnings? Our research is intended to identify the size and characteristics of the population that might be at risk as a consequence of such changes.

The central finding is that over 20 percent of early Social Security retirees have health problems that substantially impair their ability to work. In fact, among those aged 62–64 who are severely impaired, there are as many Old-Age and Survivors Insurance beneficiaries as there are beneficiaries under SSA's two disability programs. The retirement program functions as a substantial, albeit unofficial, disability program for this age group. Moreover, the majority of the most severely impaired early retirees would not qualify for Disability Insurance benefits.

Life Expectancy and Health Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49 No. 10 (released October 1986)
by Steven H. Chapman, Mitchell P. LaPlante, and Gail Wilensky
Report on the Nation's Health
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 11 (released November 1948)

Immigration

Immigrants and Retirement Resources
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74 No. 1 (released February 2014)
by Purvi Sevak and Lucie Schmidt

In this article, the authors use the Health and Retirement Study to compare retirement resources of the foreign born with those of the native born. They find that immigrants have significantly lower Social Security benefit levels than natives; however, after controlling for demographic characteristics immigrants have higher levels of net worth. The immigrant/native differential in retirement resources varies systematically by number of years in the United States.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In November 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure and is intended to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. First, we look at how the SPM and official estimates differ for various aged and nonaged groups. Then, we look at why the SPM poverty rate for the aged is much higher than the official rate.

Estimating the First Instance of Substantive-Covered Earnings in the Labor Market
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-04 (released September 2008)
by Michael Compson
Incorporating Immigrant Flows into Microsimulation Models
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 1 (released August 2008)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Daniel J. Dowhan

Complementing the second paper's focus on forecasting immigrant earnings and emigration in a "closed system" for a given population, the last article of the trilogy explores how to project immigrant earnings for an "open system"—a system that includes future immigrants. A simple method to project future immigrants and their earnings is presented.

Adding Immigrants to Microsimulation Models
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 1 (released August 2008)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Daniel J. Dowhan

Given immigration's recent resurgence as an important demographic fact in the U.S. economy, U.S. policy modelers are just beginning to grapple with how best to integrate immigrants into policy models. Building on the research reviewed in the first article of this series, this article puts forth a conceptual basis for incorporating immigration into a key type of policy model—microsimulation—with a focus on the projection of immigrant earnings.

Research on Immigrant Earnings
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 1 (released August 2008)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Daniel J. Dowhan

As the first in a trio of articles devoted to incorporating immigration into policy models, this article traces the history of research on immigrant earnings. It focuses on how earnings trajectories of immigrants differ from those of U.S. natives, vary across immigrant groups, and have changed over time. The highlighted findings underscore key lessons for modeling immigrant earnings and pave the way for representing the earnings trajectories of immigrants in policy models.

Hispanics, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article uses a relatively new data source—the American Community Survey (ACS) to document the economic and demographic characteristics of the Hispanic population in the United States. Although the article focuses on Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, other segments of the population are also examined. The ACS data show that the Hispanic population is significantly different from the overall population, particularly with regard to age distribution, education, and economic well-being.

Projecting Immigrant Earnings: The Significance of Country of Origin
ORES Working Paper No. 78 (released November 1998)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Mark C. Regets

This paper asks whether information about immigrants other than their age, education, and years since migration can be productively used to project their earnings. Although many factors could affect immigrants' earnings, what is most useful for Social Security modeling purposes is relevant information that is readily available on a continuous basis. Country of origin is a good candidate as it is regularly and readily available from several administrative and survey data sources.

In this paper, microdata samples from the 1960–1990 censuses are used to examine the relationship between country of origin and the earnings of immigrants. By following cohorts of immigrants over 10-year intervals, we learn how country of origin affects the initial earnings of immigrants and how the relationship between country of origin and immigrants' earnings changes as immigrants live in the United States. The paper also presents theoretical insights and empirical evidence about the underlying causes of the link between country of origin and immigrants' earnings.

Social Security and Immigrant Earnings
ORES Working Paper No. 69 (released June 1996)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep and Mark C. Regets

Immigrant cohorts have varied over time in many ways that have important implications for projecting the contributions immigrants make to the Social Security system. Using immigrant cohorts in the 1970, 1980, and 1990 decennial censuses, we find that immigrant men experience faster earnings growth than native-born men and that there has been a large increase over time in immigrant earnings growth rates. Thus, recent reductions in immigrant entry earnings are significantly compensated for by faster immigrant earnings growth.

Social Security and the Emigration of Immigrants
ORES Working Paper No. 60 (released March 1994)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep

Each year the Social Security Administration forecasts the financial status of the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs by projecting trends in key variables such as the labor force participation and earnings of the U.S. population. In the difficult task of projecting the long-term financial status of Social Security, assumptions are made concerning the relationship of immigrants to Social Security. An important aspect of that relationship is the emigration of immigrants.

This paper describes the general assumptions related to the level and timing of emigration that underlie projections of Social Security's financial status and examines how closely these assumptions fit research findings based on a variety of data sources. Previous trends in emigration and factors that may affect current and future levels of emigration are described. The paper also presents theoretical expectations and empirical evidence concerning the timing of emigration.

Social Security and the Emigration of Immigrants
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 57 No. 1 (released January 1994)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep
The Cuban Refugee Program
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 3 (released March 1962)
by William L. Mitchell

Marital Status

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants, 2010 Update
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-02 (released February 2014)
by Michelle Stegman Bailey and Jeffrey Hemmeter

The authors use data from the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) matched to Social Security administrative records to produce tables providing detailed information on the economic and demographic characteristics of Disability Insurance beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients in December 2010. The tables update those published in a 2008 Research and Statistics Note that used 2002 SIPP data.

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)
by Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy

The authors use American Community Survey (ACS) data to compare Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program participation and benefit levels of African Americans with those of the general population. The ACS data show that African Americans are more likely to be Supplemental Security Income recipients, and less likely to be Social Security beneficiaries. Higher rates of poverty, disability, and mortality among African Americans mean that they are also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than are other beneficiaries.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In November 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure and is intended to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. First, we look at how the SPM and official estimates differ for various aged and nonaged groups. Then, we look at why the SPM poverty rate for the aged is much higher than the official rate.

How Do Trends in Women's Labor Force Activity and Marriage Patterns Affect Social Security Replacement Rates?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by April Yanyuan Wu, Nadia S. Karamcheva, Alicia H. Munnell, and Patrick J. Purcell

Changes in the role of women in the economy and in the family have affected both the amount and the type of Social Security benefits they receive in retirement. Women's labor force participation rate increased from less than 40 percent in 1950 to more than 70 percent in 2011. Over much of the same period, marriage rates fell and divorce rates rose. This article examines how women's higher earnings and lower marriage rates have affected Social Security replacement rates over time for individuals and for households.

Prevalence, Characteristics, and Poverty Status of Supplemental Security Income Multirecipients
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 3 (released August 2013)
by Joyce Nicholas

This article looks at Supplemental Security Income (SSI) multirecipients. Using matched administrative and survey data, the author quantifies the prevalence of SSI recipients who live with other recipients (not including an SSI-eligible spouse). The author also conducts family- and household-level analyses to shed light on the social and economic characteristics of SSI multirecipients. The article reveals that SSI multirecipients represent about one-fifth of the SSI population and that their poverty rates vary according to family and household composition characteristics.

Psychosocial Factors and Financial Literacy
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by John L. Murphy

This article explores how psychosocial variables relate to financial literacy. Although prior research has examined mainstay economic variables, this study examines whether previously unexplored variables—financial satisfaction, hopelessness, and religiosity—impact financial literacy. The study uses Health and Retirement Study data and finds that financial satisfaction and religiosity are associated with financial literacy.

Modeling Behavioral Responses to Eliminating the Retirement Earnings Test
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Anya Olsen and Kathleen Romig

The retirement earnings test (RET) is an often-misunderstood aspect of the Social Security program. Policymakers have proposed reforming the RET as a way to encourage working at older ages. However, this could also cause earlier benefit claiming. We use Modeling Income in the Near Term data to analyze the complete repeal of the earnings test for beneficiaries aged 60 or older, first assuming no behavioral responses to repeal and secondly assuming changes to benefit claiming and workforce participation behaviors. Our lifetime results show that the assumed behavioral response—particularly the benefit claiming change—has a bigger effect than the RET policy change itself.

The Implications of Marital History Change on Women's Eligibility for Social Security Wife and Widow Benefits, 1990–2009
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 2 (released May 2012)
by Howard M. Iams and Christopher R. Tamborini

Social Security retirement-age benefits in the United States reflect marital histories and lifetime earnings of current and former married couples. We examine women's marital history patterns and spouse and widow benefit eligibility over the past two decades, 1990 and 2009. Our analysis reveals substantial changes in women's marital patterns among the baby boom and generation X cohorts. We find a substantial decline in qualifying marital histories for Social Security spouse and widow benefits. The results reveal considerable variation by race and Hispanic origin.

This Is Not Your Parents' Retirement: Comparing Retirement Income Across Generations
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Karen E. Smith, and Howard M. Iams

This article examines how retirement income at age 67 is likely to change for baby boomers and generation Xers compared with current retirees. The authors use the Modeling Income in the Near Term model to project retirement income, assets, poverty rates, and replacement rates for current and future retirees at age 67. In absolute terms, retirement incomes of future cohorts will increase over time, and poverty rates will fall. However, projected income gains are larger for high than for low socioeconomic groups, leading to increased income inequality among future retirees.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

The authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to describe the likely characteristics, work experience, Social Security benefit status, and economic well-being of future divorced women at age 70, by race and ethnicity. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having a strong history of labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. However, because divorced black and Hispanic women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, income sources, or assets, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women.

The Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

To project the retirement resources and well-being of divorced women, the authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6). Findings show that Social Security benefits and retirement incomes are projected to increase for divorced women and that their poverty rates are projected to decline, due in large part to women's increasing lifetime earnings. However, not all divorced women will be equally well off; economic well-being in retirement varies by Social Security benefit type.

The Impact of Changes in Couples' Earnings on Married Women's Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

This article uses the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to examine how changes in married women's labor force participation and earnings will impact the Social Security benefits of current and future beneficiary wives. Over the next 30 years, a larger share of wives will be eligible for Social Security benefits based solely on their own earnings, and wives' average Social Security benefits are expected to increase by 50 percent. Despite rising female lifetime earnings, wives' earnings typically remain below those of their husbands, so many wives who are retired-worker-only beneficiaries while their husbands are alive will receive auxiliary benefits when their husbands die.

Military Veterans and Social Security: 2010 Update
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Anya Olsen and Samantha O'Leary

More than one 1 of 5 adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military, and veterans and their families comprise 35 percent of the beneficiary population. Using data from the March 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), this article presents the sociodemographic characteristics of the veteran beneficiary and the total veteran populations. The article draws comparisons with findings from the March 2000 CPS and the March 2004 CPS, and describes trends in the size and demographic makeup of the veteran population using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs' VetPop2007 projection model.

Widows and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 3 (released August 2010)
by David A. Weaver

This article provides policymakers with context for understanding past and future policy discussions regarding Social Security widow benefits. Using data from household surveys, projections from a microsimulation model, and recent research, it examines three types of benefits—those for aged widows, widows caring for children, and disabled widows.

Low Levels of Retirement Resources in the Near-Elderly Time Period and Future Participation in Means-Tested Programs
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 1 (released February 2010)
by Alexander Strand

This article describes the de facto standards of low income and resources reflected in the eligibility standards of the largest means-tested programs that serve the elderly and then applies these standards to a near-elderly cohort. Through juxtaposing retirement resources in the near-elderly time period with program participation in the elderly time period, the author indirectly examines some of the changes between the two time periods that could affect program eligibility, including spend-down of resources and marital dissolution. Retirement resource levels are estimated using the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and subsequent participation in one of the means-tested programs—Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—is examined using matched administrative records.

Earnings Sharing in Social Security: Projected Impacts of Alternative Proposals Using the MINT Model
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 1 (released May 2009)
by Howard M. Iams, Gayle L. Reznik, and Christopher R. Tamborini

Earnings sharing is an alternate method of calculating Social Security retirement benefits whereby earnings are assumed to be shared by married couples. This article presents a microsimulation analysis to estimate the impact of three earnings sharing proposals on the aged population of married, divorced, and widowed men and women in 2030. The impact of earnings sharing differs by marital status and sex, as measured by the percentage change in benefits and by the percentage of beneficiaries with increased and reduced benefits.

Cohort Changes in the Retirement Resources of Older Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 4 (released March 2009)
by Howard M. Iams, John W. R. Phillips, Kristen Robinson, Lionel P. Deang, and Irena Dushi

This article uses different sources of United States data to focus on the retirement resources of women aged 55–64 in 2004, 1994, and 1984. Notable changes have occurred with women's pathways into retirement resulting from increased education and lifetime work experience. There appear marked cohort differences in potential retirement outcomes.

Estimating the First Instance of Substantive-Covered Earnings in the Labor Market
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-04 (released September 2008)
by Michael Compson
Disabled Workers and the Indexing of Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Alexander Strand and Kalman Rupp

This article presents the distributional effects of changing the Social Security indexing scheme, with an emphasis on the effects upon disabled-worker beneficiaries. Although a class of reform proposals that would slow the rate of growth of initial benefit levels over time—including price indexing and longevity indexing—initially appear to affect all beneficiaries proportionally, there can be different impacts on different groups of beneficiaries. The impacts between and within groups are mitigated by (1) the offsetting effect of changes in Supplemental Security Income benefits at the lower tail of the income distribution, and (2) the dampening effect of other family income at the upper tail of the income distribution. The authors present estimates of the size of these effects.

Women, Marriage, and Social Security Benefits Revisited
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Christopher R. Tamborini and Kevin Whitman

This article uses a Restricted-Use File of the 2001 Marital History Topical Module to the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine women's marital histories in relation to Social Security spouse and widow benefit eligibility. To assess marital trends over time, the authors compare SIPP estimates to data reported in Iams and Ycas. 1988 article, "Women, Marriage and Social Security Benefits," which used the 1985 Marital History Supplement to the Current Population Survey. The results shed light on important links between sociodemographic trends in marriage and Social Security beneficiaries. Over three-fourths of women aged 40 to 69 in 2001 already had marital histories that guarantee them the option of a spouse or widow benefit at retirement. However, a smaller proportion of these women would be potentially eligible to receive spouse or widow benefits compared to their counterparts in 1985 due to changes in patterns in marriage, particularly among younger women in the baby-boom cohort. Notable shifts include rising proportions of currently divorced women without a 10-year marriage and never-married women.

Effective Retirement Savings Programs: Design Features and Financial Education
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Anya Olsen and Kevin Whitman

This article provides an overview of the literature on best practices for retirement savings plan design and financial education in the workplace. Without a successful plan design, financial education will not be effective and even a well-structured plan can fail to achieve retirement savings goals without financial education. The main components of a retirement savings program that employers must consider include options for enrollment, investment choices, employer matching of contributions, and distributions over the working career and at retirement. In addition, employers control the core aspects of financial education, such as the topics covered, the delivery methods used, the frequency with which it is offered, and its general availability.

Hispanics, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article uses a relatively new data source—the American Community Survey (ACS) to document the economic and demographic characteristics of the Hispanic population in the United States. Although the article focuses on Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, other segments of the population are also examined. The ACS data show that the Hispanic population is significantly different from the overall population, particularly with regard to age distribution, education, and economic well-being.

The Never-Married in Old Age: Projections and Concerns for the Near Future
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Christopher R. Tamborini

This article focuses on a growing yet understudied subgroup of the elderly in the United States—the never-married. The first section, based on data from the Current Population Survey and a review of the academic literature, examines the current circumstances of never-married retirees, particularly their economic and health well-being. The succeeding section uses the Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) model to assess the projected (1) changes in the marital status composition of the future retirement-age population; (2) demographics of future never-married retirees, and (3) economic well-being of never-married retirees. The results highlight important links between marital trends, Social Security, and retirement outcomes and offer insight into some of the characteristics of current and future never-married retirees.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)
by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
Military Veterans and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Anya Olsen

About one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the United States military, making military veterans and their families an important group to study. This article provides information on the demographic characteristics of military veterans, including their age, sex, marital status, education, and race and ethnicity. It also examines their economic status by looking at poverty levels and Social Security benefit payments. Information is based on data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Poverty-level Annuitization Requirements in Social Security Proposals Incorporating Personal Retirement Accounts
Issue Paper No. 2005-01 (released April 2005)
by Dave Shoffner, Andrew G. Biggs, and Preston Jacobs

In the current discussions of Social Security reform, voluntary personal retirement accounts have been proposed. Recent research and debate have focused on several aspects of these accounts, including how such accounts would affect aggregate saving, system finances, and benefit levels. Little attention, however, has been paid to policies that would govern the distribution of account balances. This analysis considers such policies with respect to the annuitization of account balances at retirement using the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the New Term (MINT) model and a modified version of a recent legislative proposal to evaluate the effects of partial annuitization requirements.

The Accuracy of Survey-Reported Marital Status: Evidence from Survey Records Matched to Social Security Records
ORES Working Paper No. 80 (released January 1999)
by David A. Weaver

Many researchers have concluded that, in surveys, divorced persons often fail to report accurate marital information. In this paper, I revisit this issue using a new source of data—surveys exactly matched to Social Security data. I find that divorced persons frequently misreport their marital status, but there is evidence that the misreporting is unintentional. A discussion of possible improvements in surveys is presented. Implications for the study of differential mortality and the study of poverty among aged women are discussed.

The Economic Well-Being of Social Security Beneficiaries, with an Emphasis on Divorced Beneficiaries
ORES Working Paper No. 73 (released December 1997)
by David A. Weaver

There are numerous types of benefits paid under the Social Security programs of the United States, with each type of benefit having its own set of eligibility rules and benefit formula. It is likely that there is an association between the type of benefit a person receives and the economic circumstances of the beneficiary. This paper explores that association using records from the Current Population Survey exactly matched to administrative records from the Social Security Administration. Divorced beneficiaries are a particular focus of this paper.

Type of benefit is found to be a strong predictor of economic well-being. Two large groups of beneficiaries, retired-worker and aged married-spouse beneficiaries, are fairly well off. Other types of beneficiaries tend to resemble the overall U.S. population or are decidedly worse off. Divorced-spouse beneficiaries have an unusually high incidence of poverty and of serious health problems. A proposal to increase benefits for these beneficiaries is evaluated. Results indicate that much of the additional government expenditures would be received by those with low income.

Determinants of Divorce
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 53 No. 2 (released February 1990)
by Lee A. Lillard and Linda J. Waite
Women, Marriage, and Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51 No. 5 (released May 1988)
by Howard M. Iams and Martynas A. Yčas
Income and Living Arrangements Among Poor Aged Singles
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 4 (released April 1981)
by Thomas Tissue and John L. McCoy
Family Structure in the Preretirement Years
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 36 No. 10 (released October 1973)
by Janet H. Murray
Facts About Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22 No. 5 (released May 1959)

Mortality

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)
by Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy

The authors use American Community Survey (ACS) data to compare Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program participation and benefit levels of African Americans with those of the general population. The ACS data show that African Americans are more likely to be Supplemental Security Income recipients, and less likely to be Social Security beneficiaries. Higher rates of poverty, disability, and mortality among African Americans mean that they are also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than are other beneficiaries.

Outcome Variation in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program: The Role of Primary Diagnoses
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 2 (released May 2013)
by Javier Meseguer

This article investigates the role that primary impairments play in explaining heterogeneity in disability decisions. Using claimant-level data within a hierarchical framework, the author explores variation in outcomes along three dimensions: state of origin, adjudicative stage, and primary diagnosis. The findings indicate that the impairments account for a substantial portion of claimant-level variation in initial allowances. Furthermore, the author finds that the predictions of an initial and a final allowance are highly correlated when applicants are grouped by impairment. In other words, diagnoses that are more likely to result in an initial allowance also tend to be more likely to receive a final allowance.

Mortality Differentials by Lifetime Earnings Decile: Implications for Evaluations of Proposed Social Security Law Changes
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Hilary Waldron

Under current law, the link between earnings and benefit levels and the equal application of age-of-entitlement rules, regardless of earnings levels, means that a worker is never penalized for additional work or thrift. This article finds that the Social Security–insured population does not fall neatly into a low-earnings poor health group and a remaining good health group. Attempts to target a subset of badly disadvantaged workers by altering the benefit rules that apply equally to everyone could both miss the intended target and introduce work disincentives into a program currently designed to reward work.

Longitudinal Patterns of Medicaid and Medicare Coverage Among Disability Cash Benefit Awardees
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Kalman Rupp and Gerald F. Riley

This article analyzes the effect of longitudinal interactions between the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs in providing access to Medicare and Medicaid, using a sample of administrative records spanning 84 months. Our study is the first effort to link and analyze record data on participation in all four of these major, and highly interrelated, public benefit programs in the United States. We find that SSI facilitates high levels of Medicaid coverage for SSI awardees overall and provides access to Medicaid for many DI awardees during the 24-month Medicare waiting period. Many people who exit SSI retain their Medicaid coverage, but the gap in coverage between continuing SSI participants and those who leave the program increases over time. After Medicare kicks in, public health insurance coverage is virtually complete among awardees with some DI involvement, including dual Medicaid and Medicare coverage for some.

The Research Contributions of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 4 (released December 2009)
by Steven A. Sass

This article reviews the research contributions of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College over its 10-year history and their implications for Social Security and retirement income policy in three major areas: (1) Social Security's long-term financing shortfall, (2) the adequacy of retirement incomes, and (3) labor force participation at older ages as a means to improve retirement income security. The center has received substantial funding support from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in each area and has also successfully leveraged SSA's investment by attracting funding from other sources.

The Out-of-Sample Performance of Stochastic Methods in Forecasting Age-Specific Mortality Rates
ORES Working Paper No. 111 (released August 2008)
by Javier Meseguer

This paper evaluates the out-of-sample performance of two stochastic models used to forecast age-specific mortality rates: (1) the model proposed by Lee and Carter (1992); and (2) a set of univariate autoregressions linked together by a common residual covariance matrix (Denton, Feavor, and Spencer 2005).

Disabled Workers and the Indexing of Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Alexander Strand and Kalman Rupp

This article presents the distributional effects of changing the Social Security indexing scheme, with an emphasis on the effects upon disabled-worker beneficiaries. Although a class of reform proposals that would slow the rate of growth of initial benefit levels over time—including price indexing and longevity indexing—initially appear to affect all beneficiaries proportionally, there can be different impacts on different groups of beneficiaries. The impacts between and within groups are mitigated by (1) the offsetting effect of changes in Supplemental Security Income benefits at the lower tail of the income distribution, and (2) the dampening effect of other family income at the upper tail of the income distribution. The authors present estimates of the size of these effects.

Trends in Mortality Differentials and Life Expectancy for Male Social Security-Covered Workers, by Socioeconomic Status
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Hilary Waldron

This article presents an analysis of trends in mortality differentials and life expectancy by socioeconomic status for male Social Security-covered workers aged 60 or older. Mortality differentials, cohort life expectancies, and period life expectancies by average relative earnings are estimated. Period life expectancy estimates for the United States are also compared with those of other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Military Veterans and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Anya Olsen

About one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the United States military, making military veterans and their families an important group to study. This article provides information on the demographic characteristics of military veterans, including their age, sex, marital status, education, and race and ethnicity. It also examines their economic status by looking at poverty levels and Social Security benefit payments. Information is based on data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Literature Review of Long-Term Mortality Projections
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 1 (released September 2005)
by Hilary Waldron

The Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds reports on the current and projected future financial status of the trust funds annually. The Trustees project trust fund finances 75 years into the future. Mortality is one key demographic assumption that feeds into these long-range projections. This article reviews a range of predictions about long-term mortality improvement and assesses where the Trustees' 75-year mortality projection falls within this range. In general, the predictions of future mortality declines in the 2004 Social Security Trustees Report tend to be in the mainstream of professional actuarial and international official government opinion and to be lower than the majority of the small group of demographers who produce comparable estimates.

Mortality Differentials by Race
ORES Working Paper No. 99 (released December 2002)
by Hilary Waldron

In the 2001 report of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, the commission states that blacks "on average have both lower incomes and shorter life expectancies than other Americans." This paper examines the extent to which the shorter life expectancies of blacks are explained by differences between their average socioeconomic status and that of other Americans.

Estimates in this paper for men aged 25 to 64 show that about half of the difference in risk of death between blacks and all other races was explained by education level—the measure of socioeconomic status employed. At ages 65 to 90, black men were not found to have a significantly higher risk of death than men of all other races.

Do Early Retirees Die Early? Evidence from Three Independent Data Sets
ORES Working Paper No. 97 (released July 2002)
by Hilary Waldron

In a 2001 working paper, Links Between Early Retirement and Mortality (ORES Working Paper No. 93), the author used cross-sectional Current Population Survey (CPS) matched to longitudinal Social Security administration data and found that men who retire early die sooner than men who retire at age 65 or older. Estimates of relative mortality risk control for current age, year of birth, education, marital status in 1973, and race, and the sample is restricted to men who have lived to at least age 65.

This paper uses the 1982 New Beneficiary Survey and a 1 percent extract of the Social Security Administration's year 2000 Master Beneficiary Records to test whether the mortality differentials reported in the author's earlier work can be replicated in other independent data sets.

Links Between Early Retirement and Mortality
ORES Working Paper No. 93 (released August 2001)
by Hilary Waldron

In this paper, the author uses the 1973 cross-sectional Current Population Survey (CPS) matched to longitudinal Social Security administrative data (through 1998) to examine the relationship between retirement age and mortality for men who have lived to at least age 65 by 1997 or earlier. Logistic regression results indicate that controlling for current age, year of birth, education, marital status in 1973, and race, men who retire early die sooner than men who retire at age 65 or older. A positive correlation between age of retirement and life expectancy may suggest that retirement age is correlated with health in the 1973 CPS; however, the 1973 CPS data do not provide the ability to test that hypothesis directly.

Occupational Experience and Socioeconomic Variations in Mortality
ORES Working Paper No. 65 (released February 1995)
by Harriet Orcutt Duleep

This paper explores the extent to which occupational experience is responsible for the adverse effect of low income and education on mortality. Using Current Population Survey data on education and disability matched to Social Security data on earnings, disability, and mortality, this question is pursued by examining how the estimated effects of income and education are affected once occupational experience is included in the mortality model. The inclusion of various occupational experience variables, as measured in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the National Occupational Hazards Survey, has virtually no effect on the estimated effects of income and education on mortality. These findings suggest that the high mortality of low-income and poorly educated persons is not due to characteristics of their employment but to other aspects associated with poverty.

Life Expectancy and Health Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49 No. 10 (released October 1986)
by Steven H. Chapman, Mitchell P. LaPlante, and Gail Wilensky

Race and Ethnicity

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)
by Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy

The authors use American Community Survey (ACS) data to compare Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program participation and benefit levels of African Americans with those of the general population. The ACS data show that African Americans are more likely to be Supplemental Security Income recipients, and less likely to be Social Security beneficiaries. Higher rates of poverty, disability, and mortality among African Americans mean that they are also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than are other beneficiaries.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In November 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure and is intended to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. First, we look at how the SPM and official estimates differ for various aged and nonaged groups. Then, we look at why the SPM poverty rate for the aged is much higher than the official rate.

Psychosocial Factors and Financial Literacy
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by John L. Murphy

This article explores how psychosocial variables relate to financial literacy. Although prior research has examined mainstay economic variables, this study examines whether previously unexplored variables—financial satisfaction, hopelessness, and religiosity—impact financial literacy. The study uses Health and Retirement Study data and finds that financial satisfaction and religiosity are associated with financial literacy.

Raising Household Saving: Does Financial Education Work?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 2 (released May 2012)
by William G. Gale, Benjamin H. Harris, and Ruth Levine

Financial illiteracy is prevalent in the United States, and low levels of financial literacy are associated with poor financial choices and negative economic outcomes. We examine previous work on the effect of financial education on household saving and find mixed results. Workplace financial education seminars positively affect household saving, but the size of this effect varies widely across studies. The effects of other financial education initiatives are less clear, highlighting the need for rigorous econometric evaluation of efforts to improve financial literacy.

Measures of Health and Economic Well-Being Among American Indians and Alaska Natives Aged 62 or Older in 2030
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-02 (released February 2012)
by Amy Dunaway-Knight, Melissa A. Z. Knoll, Dave Shoffner, and Kevin Whitman

This Research and Statistics Note uses Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) projections to provide an overview of the demographic, health, and economic characteristics of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population aged 62 or older in 2030. MINT projects that the AIAN population will fare worse than the overall aged population in 2030 according to measures of health status, work limitation status, disability status, lifetime earnings, per capita Social Security benefits, per capita income, per capita wealth, and poverty.

This Is Not Your Parents' Retirement: Comparing Retirement Income Across Generations
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Karen E. Smith, and Howard M. Iams

This article examines how retirement income at age 67 is likely to change for baby boomers and generation Xers compared with current retirees. The authors use the Modeling Income in the Near Term model to project retirement income, assets, poverty rates, and replacement rates for current and future retirees at age 67. In absolute terms, retirement incomes of future cohorts will increase over time, and poverty rates will fall. However, projected income gains are larger for high than for low socioeconomic groups, leading to increased income inequality among future retirees.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

The authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to describe the likely characteristics, work experience, Social Security benefit status, and economic well-being of future divorced women at age 70, by race and ethnicity. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having a strong history of labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. However, because divorced black and Hispanic women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, income sources, or assets, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women.

Employment among Social Security Disability Program Beneficiaries, 1996–2007
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Arif Mamun, Paul O'Leary, David C. Wittenburg, and Jesse Gregory

Using linked administrative data from program and earnings records, we summarize the 2007 employment rates of working-age (18–64) Social Security disability program beneficiaries at the national and state levels, as well as changes in employment since 1996. Substantial variation exists within the population. Disability Insurance beneficiaries and those younger than age 40 were much more likely to work relative to other Social Security beneficiaries. There are also strong regional differences in the employment rates among disability beneficiaries of working age, and these differences are persistent over time.

Military Veterans and Social Security: 2010 Update
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Anya Olsen and Samantha O'Leary

More than one 1 of 5 adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military, and veterans and their families comprise 35 percent of the beneficiary population. Using data from the March 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), this article presents the sociodemographic characteristics of the veteran beneficiary and the total veteran populations. The article draws comparisons with findings from the March 2000 CPS and the March 2004 CPS, and describes trends in the size and demographic makeup of the veteran population using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs' VetPop2007 projection model.

The Decision to Exclude Agricultural and Domestic Workers from the 1935 Social Security Act
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 4 (released November 2010)
by Larry DeWitt

The Social Security Act of 1935 excluded from coverage about half the workers in the American economy. Among the excluded groups were agricultural and domestic workers. Some scholars have attributed this exclusion to racial bias against African Americans. In this article, the author examines the evidence of the origins of the coverage exclusions in 1935 and concludes that this particular provision had nothing to do with race.

Cohort Changes in the Retirement Resources of Older Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 4 (released March 2009)
by Howard M. Iams, John W. R. Phillips, Kristen Robinson, Lionel P. Deang, and Irena Dushi

This article uses different sources of United States data to focus on the retirement resources of women aged 55–64 in 2004, 1994, and 1984. Notable changes have occurred with women's pathways into retirement resulting from increased education and lifetime work experience. There appear marked cohort differences in potential retirement outcomes.

Effective Retirement Savings Programs: Design Features and Financial Education
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Anya Olsen and Kevin Whitman

This article provides an overview of the literature on best practices for retirement savings plan design and financial education in the workplace. Without a successful plan design, financial education will not be effective and even a well-structured plan can fail to achieve retirement savings goals without financial education. The main components of a retirement savings program that employers must consider include options for enrollment, investment choices, employer matching of contributions, and distributions over the working career and at retirement. In addition, employers control the core aspects of financial education, such as the topics covered, the delivery methods used, the frequency with which it is offered, and its general availability.

Hispanics, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article uses a relatively new data source—the American Community Survey (ACS) to document the economic and demographic characteristics of the Hispanic population in the United States. Although the article focuses on Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, other segments of the population are also examined. The ACS data show that the Hispanic population is significantly different from the overall population, particularly with regard to age distribution, education, and economic well-being.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)
by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
A Profile of Children with Disabilities Receiving SSI: Highlights from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, Chad Newcomb, Howard M. Iams, Carrie Becker, Shanti Mulpuru, Stephen Ressler, Kathleen Romig, and Baylor Miller

This article, based on interviews from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families conducted between July 2001 and June 2002, presents a profile of children under the age of 18 who were receiving support from the Supplemental Security Income program. The topics highlighted provide information of SSI children with disabilities and their families not available from administrative records, including demographic characteristics, income and assets, perceived health and disabilities, and health care utilization. While virtually every child in the SSI program is covered by some form of health insurance, primarily Medicaid, the data indicate substantial heterogeneity on other variables. This is true on many different dimensions, such as the perceived severity of the child's disabling conditions, health care utilization and service needs, the presence of other family members with disabilities, family demographics, and access to non-SSI sources of incomes.

Military Veterans and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Anya Olsen

About one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the United States military, making military veterans and their families an important group to study. This article provides information on the demographic characteristics of military veterans, including their age, sex, marital status, education, and race and ethnicity. It also examines their economic status by looking at poverty levels and Social Security benefit payments. Information is based on data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Poverty-level Annuitization Requirements in Social Security Proposals Incorporating Personal Retirement Accounts
Issue Paper No. 2005-01 (released April 2005)
by Dave Shoffner, Andrew G. Biggs, and Preston Jacobs

In the current discussions of Social Security reform, voluntary personal retirement accounts have been proposed. Recent research and debate have focused on several aspects of these accounts, including how such accounts would affect aggregate saving, system finances, and benefit levels. Little attention, however, has been paid to policies that would govern the distribution of account balances. This analysis considers such policies with respect to the annuitization of account balances at retirement using the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the New Term (MINT) model and a modified version of a recent legislative proposal to evaluate the effects of partial annuitization requirements.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth and Asset Choices
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 64 No. 4 (released June 2003)
by Sharmila Choudhury

Analysis of the wealth held by white, black, and Hispanic households points to differences in saving behavior, notably a disinclination on the part of minority households to invest in riskier, higher-yielding financial assets. This finding may account for some of the great disparities in wealth across racial and ethnic groups that cannot be explained by income and demographic factors.

Mortality Differentials by Race
ORES Working Paper No. 99 (released December 2002)
by Hilary Waldron

In the 2001 report of the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, the commission states that blacks "on average have both lower incomes and shorter life expectancies than other Americans." This paper examines the extent to which the shorter life expectancies of blacks are explained by differences between their average socioeconomic status and that of other Americans.

Estimates in this paper for men aged 25 to 64 show that about half of the difference in risk of death between blacks and all other races was explained by education level—the measure of socioeconomic status employed. At ages 65 to 90, black men were not found to have a significantly higher risk of death than men of all other races.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth Holdings and Portfolio Choices
ORES Working Paper No. 95 (released April 2002)
by Sharmila Choudhury

There are large differences in wealth across racial and ethnic groups, much of which remain unexplained even after controlling for income and demographic factors. This paper studies the issue of whether differences in saving behavior and rates of return on assets are a possible source of the differences in wealth. It uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the differences in various components of aggregate wealth (including nonhousing equity, housing equity, financial assets, and risky assets) and to inspect differences in portfolio choices by race and ethnicity.

Descriptive tabulations of components of aggregate wealth and portfolio choices shown here point to differences between white and minority households in their saving behavior and choice of assets. These findings suggest that some of the large differences in wealth across racial and ethnic groups that remain unexplained even after controlling for income and demographic factors, may be attributable to the smaller participation in financial markets by minority households.

Identifying the Race or Ethnicity of SSI Recipients
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 62 No. 4 (released April 2000)
by Charles G. Scott

Despite many decades of data collection, SSA has problems presenting data on the race and ethnicity of program beneficiaries. By using several statistical techniques, however, it is possible to make better use of the data at hand.

Demographic and Economic Differences in Survivor Experiences of Nonwhite and White Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43 No. 2 (released February 1980)
by Gordon F. Sutton
National Survey of the Black Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 41 No. 7 (released July 1978)
by Ethel Shanas and Gloria Heinemann
Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Elderly: Some Black-White Differences
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40 No. 7 (released July 1977)
by Julian Abbott
Age, Sex, and Color of Applicants for Account Numbers
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 9 (released September 1938)

Sex

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants, 2010 Update
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-02 (released February 2014)
by Michelle Stegman Bailey and Jeffrey Hemmeter

The authors use data from the 2008 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) matched to Social Security administrative records to produce tables providing detailed information on the economic and demographic characteristics of Disability Insurance beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients in December 2010. The tables update those published in a 2008 Research and Statistics Note that used 2002 SIPP data.

African Americans: Description of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Participation and Benefit Levels Using the American Community Survey
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-01 (released January 2014)
by Patricia P. Martin and John L. Murphy

The authors use American Community Survey (ACS) data to compare Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program participation and benefit levels of African Americans with those of the general population. The ACS data show that African Americans are more likely to be Supplemental Security Income recipients, and less likely to be Social Security beneficiaries. Higher rates of poverty, disability, and mortality among African Americans mean that they are also more likely to rely on Social Security survivor and disability benefits than are other beneficiaries.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

In November 2011, the Census Bureau released its first report on the Supplemental Poverty Measure. The SPM addresses many criticisms of the official poverty measure and is intended to provide an improved statistical picture of poverty. This article examines the extent of poverty identified by the two measures. First, we look at how the SPM and official estimates differ for various aged and nonaged groups. Then, we look at why the SPM poverty rate for the aged is much higher than the official rate.

Growth in New Disabled-Worker Entitlements, 1970–2008
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by David Pattison and Hilary Waldron

We find that three factors—(1) population growth, (2) the growth in the proportion of women insured for disability, and (3) the movement of the large baby boom generation into disability-prone ages—explain 90 percent of the growth in new disabled-worker entitlements over the 36-year subperiod (1972–2008). The remaining 10 percent is the part attributable to the disability “incidence rate.” Looking at the two subperiods (1972–1990 and 1990–2008), unadjusted measures appear to show faster growth in the incidence rate in the later period than in the earlier one. This apparent speedup disappears once we account for the changing demographic structure of the insured population. Although the adjusted growth in the incidence rate accounts for 17 percent of the growth in disability entitlements in the earlier subperiod, it accounts for only 6 percent of the growth in the more recent half. Demographic factors explain the remaining 94 percent of growth over the 1990–2008 period.

How Do Trends in Women's Labor Force Activity and Marriage Patterns Affect Social Security Replacement Rates?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 4 (released November 2013)
by April Yanyuan Wu, Nadia S. Karamcheva, Alicia H. Munnell, and Patrick J. Purcell

Changes in the role of women in the economy and in the family have affected both the amount and the type of Social Security benefits they receive in retirement. Women's labor force participation rate increased from less than 40 percent in 1950 to more than 70 percent in 2011. Over much of the same period, marriage rates fell and divorce rates rose. This article examines how women's higher earnings and lower marriage rates have affected Social Security replacement rates over time for individuals and for households.

Outcome Variation in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program: The Role of Primary Diagnoses
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 2 (released May 2013)
by Javier Meseguer

This article investigates the role that primary impairments play in explaining heterogeneity in disability decisions. Using claimant-level data within a hierarchical framework, the author explores variation in outcomes along three dimensions: state of origin, adjudicative stage, and primary diagnosis. The findings indicate that the impairments account for a substantial portion of claimant-level variation in initial allowances. Furthermore, the author finds that the predictions of an initial and a final allowance are highly correlated when applicants are grouped by impairment. In other words, diagnoses that are more likely to result in an initial allowance also tend to be more likely to receive a final allowance.

Mortality Differentials by Lifetime Earnings Decile: Implications for Evaluations of Proposed Social Security Law Changes
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Hilary Waldron

Under current law, the link between earnings and benefit levels and the equal application of age-of-entitlement rules, regardless of earnings levels, means that a worker is never penalized for additional work or thrift. This article finds that the Social Security–insured population does not fall neatly into a low-earnings poor health group and a remaining good health group. Attempts to target a subset of badly disadvantaged workers by altering the benefit rules that apply equally to everyone could both miss the intended target and introduce work disincentives into a program currently designed to reward work.

Psychosocial Factors and Financial Literacy
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by John L. Murphy

This article explores how psychosocial variables relate to financial literacy. Although prior research has examined mainstay economic variables, this study examines whether previously unexplored variables—financial satisfaction, hopelessness, and religiosity—impact financial literacy. The study uses Health and Retirement Study data and finds that financial satisfaction and religiosity are associated with financial literacy.

Factors Affecting Initial Disability Allowance Rates for the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Programs: The Role of the Demographic and Diagnostic Composition of Applicants and Local Labor Market Conditions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 4 (released November 2012)
by Kalman Rupp

Various factors outside the control of decision makers may affect the rate at which disability applications are allowed or denied during the initial step of eligibility determination in the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. This article, using individual-level data on applications, focuses on the role of three important factors—the demographic characteristics of applicants, the diagnostic mix of applicants, and the local unemployment rate—in affecting the probability of an initial allowance and state allowance rates. A random sample of initial determination administrative records for the 1993–2008 period is used for the analysis in a fixed-effects multiple regression framework. The empirical results show that the demographic and diagnostic characteristics of applicants and the local unemployment rate substantially affect the initial allowance rate. An increase in the local unemployment rate tends to be associated with a decrease in the initial allowance rate. This negative relationship holds for adult applicants in both the DI and SSI programs and for SSI childhood applicants.

Profile of Social Security Disabled Workers and Dependents Who Have a Connection to Workers' Compensation or Public Disability Benefits
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-03 (released September 2012)
by Rene Parent, Incigul Sayman, and Kevin Kulzer

This note provides a comprehensive profile of the characteristics of disability beneficiaries with a connection to workers' compensation or public disability benefits (PDBs). The 8.3 percent of disabled workers who have this connection tend to be economically better off, more frequently middle aged, male, afflicted with a musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorder, and tend to wait longer to apply for social security disability benefits after onset than the general disabled-worker population. In our analysis, we have included a special focus on California, as this state represents a large portion of the PDB workload, and its experience has a substantial effect on the national picture.

Workplace Injuries and the Take-Up of Social Security Disability Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Paul O'Leary, Leslie I. Boden, Seth A. Seabury, Al Ozonoff, and Ethan Scherer

Workplace injuries and illnesses are an important cause of disability. States have designed their workers' compensation programs to provide cash and medical-care benefits for those injuries and illnesses, but people who become disabled at work may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) and related Medicare benefits. This article uses matched state workers' compensation and Social Security data to estimate whether workplace injuries and illnesses increase the probability of receiving DI benefits and whether people who become DI beneficiaries receive benefits at younger ages.

The Sensitivity of Proposed Social Security Benefit Formula Changes to Lifetime Earnings Definitions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 2 (released May 2012)
by Hilary Waldron

Several Social Security proposals have included benefit formula changes that apply to earners above a specified percentage of the combined male and female (unisex) lifetime earnings distribution. This study finds that if Social Security's median unisex average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) amount is used to define an earnings threshold below which benefits will be held unreduced, the percentage of fully insured men subject to benefit reductions (70 percent) will exceed the unisex estimate of the population subject to benefit reductions (50 percent) by 20 percentage points. If policymakers wish to adjust future benefits and focus benefit reductions on middle or high primary or full-time wage earners in a household, the male, rather than unisex, AIME would come closer to achieving such a goal.

Raising Household Saving: Does Financial Education Work?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 2 (released May 2012)
by William G. Gale, Benjamin H. Harris, and Ruth Levine

Financial illiteracy is prevalent in the United States, and low levels of financial literacy are associated with poor financial choices and negative economic outcomes. We examine previous work on the effect of financial education on household saving and find mixed results. Workplace financial education seminars positively affect household saving, but the size of this effect varies widely across studies. The effects of other financial education initiatives are less clear, highlighting the need for rigorous econometric evaluation of efforts to improve financial literacy.

The Implications of Marital History Change on Women's Eligibility for Social Security Wife and Widow Benefits, 1990–2009
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 2 (released May 2012)
by Howard M. Iams and Christopher R. Tamborini

Social Security retirement-age benefits in the United States reflect marital histories and lifetime earnings of current and former married couples. We examine women's marital history patterns and spouse and widow benefit eligibility over the past two decades, 1990 and 2009. Our analysis reveals substantial changes in women's marital patterns among the baby boom and generation X cohorts. We find a substantial decline in qualifying marital histories for Social Security spouse and widow benefits. The results reveal considerable variation by race and Hispanic origin.

The Impact of Changes in Couples' Earnings on Married Women's Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

This article uses the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to examine how changes in married women's labor force participation and earnings will impact the Social Security benefits of current and future beneficiary wives. Over the next 30 years, a larger share of wives will be eligible for Social Security benefits based solely on their own earnings, and wives' average Social Security benefits are expected to increase by 50 percent. Despite rising female lifetime earnings, wives' earnings typically remain below those of their husbands, so many wives who are retired-worker-only beneficiaries while their husbands are alive will receive auxiliary benefits when their husbands die.

The Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

To project the retirement resources and well-being of divorced women, the authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6). Findings show that Social Security benefits and retirement incomes are projected to increase for divorced women and that their poverty rates are projected to decline, due in large part to women's increasing lifetime earnings. However, not all divorced women will be equally well off; economic well-being in retirement varies by Social Security benefit type.

This Is Not Your Parents' Retirement: Comparing Retirement Income Across Generations
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Karen E. Smith, and Howard M. Iams

This article examines how retirement income at age 67 is likely to change for baby boomers and generation Xers compared with current retirees. The authors use the Modeling Income in the Near Term model to project retirement income, assets, poverty rates, and replacement rates for current and future retirees at age 67. In absolute terms, retirement incomes of future cohorts will increase over time, and poverty rates will fall. However, projected income gains are larger for high than for low socioeconomic groups, leading to increased income inequality among future retirees.

Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Karen E. Smith

The authors use the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (version 6) to describe the likely characteristics, work experience, Social Security benefit status, and economic well-being of future divorced women at age 70, by race and ethnicity. Factors associated with higher retirement incomes include having a college degree; having a strong history of labor force attachment; receiving Social Security benefits; and having pensions, retirement accounts, or assets, regardless of race and ethnicity. However, because divorced black and Hispanic women are less likely than divorced white women to have these attributes, income sources, or assets, their projected average retirement incomes are lower than those of divorced white women.

Comparing Earnings Estimates from the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File and the Annual Statistical Supplement
Research and Statistics Note No. 2012-01 (released January 2012)
by Michael Compson

The Social Security Administration recently released the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File (EPUF). The EPUF contains earnings information for individuals drawn from a systematic random 1-percent sample of all Social Security numbers issued before January 2007. This note presents the process of evaluating the earnings data in EPUF. It also identifies and explains four key differences between the data in EPUF and the estimates published in the Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin. The note specifically compares EPUF data with Annual Statistical Supplement estimates of earnings, number of workers with earnings, median earnings by sex and age group, and percentage of workers with earnings below the taxable maximum by sex. After accounting for the expected differences, the remaining discrepancies between EPUF and Annual Statistical Supplement estimates are relatively small.

The 2006 Earnings Public-Use Microdata File: An Introduction
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 4 (released November 2011)
by Michael Compson

This article introduces the 2006 Earnings Public-Use File (EPUF), a data file containing earnings records for individuals drawn from a 1-percent sample of all Social Security numbers issued before January 2007. The EPUF contains selected demographic and earnings information for 4.3 million individuals. It provides aggregate earnings data for 1937 to 1950 and annual earnings data for 1951 to 2006.

Longitudinal Statistics on Work Activity and Use of Employment Supports for New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Su Liu and David C. Stapleton

Longitudinal statistics on the employment activities of Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries offer a different perspective than the Social Security Administration's published statistics, which are based on annual data, and have important policy implications.

Employment among Social Security Disability Program Beneficiaries, 1996–2007
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Arif Mamun, Paul O'Leary, David C. Wittenburg, and Jesse Gregory

Using linked administrative data from program and earnings records, we summarize the 2007 employment rates of working-age (18–64) Social Security disability program beneficiaries at the national and state levels, as well as changes in employment since 1996. Substantial variation exists within the population. Disability Insurance beneficiaries and those younger than age 40 were much more likely to work relative to other Social Security beneficiaries. There are also strong regional differences in the employment rates among disability beneficiaries of working age, and these differences are persistent over time.

Military Veterans and Social Security: 2010 Update
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Anya Olsen and Samantha O'Leary

More than one 1 of 5 adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military, and veterans and their families comprise 35 percent of the beneficiary population. Using data from the March 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), this article presents the sociodemographic characteristics of the veteran beneficiary and the total veteran populations. The article draws comparisons with findings from the March 2000 CPS and the March 2004 CPS, and describes trends in the size and demographic makeup of the veteran population using data from the Department of Veterans Affairs' VetPop2007 projection model.

The Distribution of Annual and Long-Run US Earnings, 1981–2004
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 1 (released February 2011)
by Michael V. Leonesio and Linda Del Bene

During 1981–2004, long-run earnings inequality among men increased by about the same magnitude as the well-documented increase in annual earnings inequality. Although the growth in annual earnings inequality was greater for women during these years, there was very little increase in their long-run earnings inequality. This article explores the conditions that produce the divergent trends in long-run earnings.

The Age-18 Redetermination and Postredetermination Participation in SSI
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 4 (released December 2009)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter and Elaine Gilby

This article describes the outcomes of the redetermination of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility when a child recipient reaches age 18. Statistics on the characteristics of youth whose eligibility is redetermined are presented using 8 years of administrative data, and the relationship between these characteristics and both an initial cessation decision and a successful appeal or reapplication for SSI are discussed.

An Empirical Study of the Effects of Social Security Reforms on Benefit Claiming Behavior and Receipt Using Public-Use Administrative Microdata
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 3 (released October 2009)
by Hugo Benítez-Silva and Na Yin

In the past few years, the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance benefit system in the United States has undergone some of the most significant changes since its inception. Using the public-use microdata extract from the Master Beneficiary Record, we are able to uncover a number of interesting trends in benefit claiming behavior and level of benefit receipt, which can help us understand how the changes in the system are shaping the retirement benefit claiming behavior of older Americans.

Earnings Sharing in Social Security: Projected Impacts of Alternative Proposals Using the MINT Model
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 1 (released May 2009)
by Howard M. Iams, Gayle L. Reznik, and Christopher R. Tamborini

Earnings sharing is an alternate method of calculating Social Security retirement benefits whereby earnings are assumed to be shared by married couples. This article presents a microsimulation analysis to estimate the impact of three earnings sharing proposals on the aged population of married, divorced, and widowed men and women in 2030. The impact of earnings sharing differs by marital status and sex, as measured by the percentage change in benefits and by the percentage of beneficiaries with increased and reduced benefits.

Cohort Changes in the Retirement Resources of Older Women
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 4 (released March 2009)
by Howard M. Iams, John W. R. Phillips, Kristen Robinson, Lionel P. Deang, and Irena Dushi

This article uses different sources of United States data to focus on the retirement resources of women aged 55–64 in 2004, 1994, and 1984. Notable changes have occurred with women's pathways into retirement resulting from increased education and lifetime work experience. There appear marked cohort differences in potential retirement outcomes.

Estimated Retirement Benefits in the Social Security Statement
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-05 (released November 2008)
by Glenn R. Springstead, David A. Weaver, and Jason J. Fichtner
Social Security Beneficiaries Affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision in 2006
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 2 (released October 2008)
by Barbara A. Lingg

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is a method of computing benefits for some workers who receive a pension based on non-Social Security covered work. At the end of 2006, about 970,000 beneficiaries, mainly retired workers, were affected by the WEP. This article provides a brief legislative history, describes the WEP computation, and presents statistical data about beneficiaries affected by the WEP.

Estimating the First Instance of Substantive-Covered Earnings in the Labor Market
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-04 (released September 2008)
by Michael Compson
Disabled Workers and the Indexing of Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Alexander Strand and Kalman Rupp

This article presents the distributional effects of changing the Social Security indexing scheme, with an emphasis on the effects upon disabled-worker beneficiaries. Although a class of reform proposals that would slow the rate of growth of initial benefit levels over time—including price indexing and longevity indexing—initially appear to affect all beneficiaries proportionally, there can be different impacts on different groups of beneficiaries. The impacts between and within groups are mitigated by (1) the offsetting effect of changes in Supplemental Security Income benefits at the lower tail of the income distribution, and (2) the dampening effect of other family income at the upper tail of the income distribution. The authors present estimates of the size of these effects.

Women, Marriage, and Social Security Benefits Revisited
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Christopher R. Tamborini and Kevin Whitman

This article uses a Restricted-Use File of the 2001 Marital History Topical Module to the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine women's marital histories in relation to Social Security spouse and widow benefit eligibility. To assess marital trends over time, the authors compare SIPP estimates to data reported in Iams and Ycas. 1988 article, "Women, Marriage and Social Security Benefits," which used the 1985 Marital History Supplement to the Current Population Survey. The results shed light on important links between sociodemographic trends in marriage and Social Security beneficiaries. Over three-fourths of women aged 40 to 69 in 2001 already had marital histories that guarantee them the option of a spouse or widow benefit at retirement. However, a smaller proportion of these women would be potentially eligible to receive spouse or widow benefits compared to their counterparts in 1985 due to changes in patterns in marriage, particularly among younger women in the baby-boom cohort. Notable shifts include rising proportions of currently divorced women without a 10-year marriage and never-married women.

Effective Retirement Savings Programs: Design Features and Financial Education
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Anya Olsen and Kevin Whitman

This article provides an overview of the literature on best practices for retirement savings plan design and financial education in the workplace. Without a successful plan design, financial education will not be effective and even a well-structured plan can fail to achieve retirement savings goals without financial education. The main components of a retirement savings program that employers must consider include options for enrollment, investment choices, employer matching of contributions, and distributions over the working career and at retirement. In addition, employers control the core aspects of financial education, such as the topics covered, the delivery methods used, the frequency with which it is offered, and its general availability.

Hispanics, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Patricia P. Martin

This article uses a relatively new data source—the American Community Survey (ACS) to document the economic and demographic characteristics of the Hispanic population in the United States. Although the article focuses on Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, other segments of the population are also examined. The ACS data show that the Hispanic population is significantly different from the overall population, particularly with regard to age distribution, education, and economic well-being.

The Never-Married in Old Age: Projections and Concerns for the Near Future
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Christopher R. Tamborini

This article focuses on a growing yet understudied subgroup of the elderly in the United States—the never-married. The first section, based on data from the Current Population Survey and a review of the academic literature, examines the current circumstances of never-married retirees, particularly their economic and health well-being. The succeeding section uses the Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) model to assess the projected (1) changes in the marital status composition of the future retirement-age population; (2) demographics of future never-married retirees, and (3) economic well-being of never-married retirees. The results highlight important links between marital trends, Social Security, and retirement outcomes and offer insight into some of the characteristics of current and future never-married retirees.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)
by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
A Profile of Children with Disabilities Receiving SSI: Highlights from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Kalman Rupp, Paul S. Davies, Chad Newcomb, Howard M. Iams, Carrie Becker, Shanti Mulpuru, Stephen Ressler, Kathleen Romig, and Baylor Miller

This article, based on interviews from the National Survey of SSI Children and Families conducted between July 2001 and June 2002, presents a profile of children under the age of 18 who were receiving support from the Supplemental Security Income program. The topics highlighted provide information of SSI children with disabilities and their families not available from administrative records, including demographic characteristics, income and assets, perceived health and disabilities, and health care utilization. While virtually every child in the SSI program is covered by some form of health insurance, primarily Medicaid, the data indicate substantial heterogeneity on other variables. This is true on many different dimensions, such as the perceived severity of the child's disabling conditions, health care utilization and service needs, the presence of other family members with disabilities, family demographics, and access to non-SSI sources of incomes.

Military Veterans and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Anya Olsen

About one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the United States military, making military veterans and their families an important group to study. This article provides information on the demographic characteristics of military veterans, including their age, sex, marital status, education, and race and ethnicity. It also examines their economic status by looking at poverty levels and Social Security benefit payments. Information is based on data from the March 2004 Current Population Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

Poverty-level Annuitization Requirements in Social Security Proposals Incorporating Personal Retirement Accounts
Issue Paper No. 2005-01 (released April 2005)
by Dave Shoffner, Andrew G. Biggs, and Preston Jacobs

In the current discussions of Social Security reform, voluntary personal retirement accounts have been proposed. Recent research and debate have focused on several aspects of these accounts, including how such accounts would affect aggregate saving, system finances, and benefit levels. Little attention, however, has been paid to policies that would govern the distribution of account balances. This analysis considers such policies with respect to the annuitization of account balances at retirement using the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the New Term (MINT) model and a modified version of a recent legislative proposal to evaluate the effects of partial annuitization requirements.

Age and Sex of Persons Receiving Both OASI Benefits and OAA Payments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 10 (released October 1963)
by Robert J. Myers
Facts About Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22 No. 5 (released May 1959)
Age and Sex Differentials in Taxable Wages Reported for 1937
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 6 (released June 1939)
by Max J. Wasserman and Katherine D. Wood
Age, Sex, and Color of Applicants for Account Numbers
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 9 (released September 1938)