Economic Status

All populations

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.

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.

Assessment of Retirement Plan Coverage by Firm Size Using W-2 Tax Records
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Irena Dushi, Howard M. Iams, and Jules Lichtenstein

Of particular interest in this article is the relationship between firm size and pension coverage and participation because small businesses tend to be less likely to offer retirement benefits to their employees than do large businesses. This relationship is particularly important given the current administration's retirement proposals to create automatic individual retirement accounts. Obviously, accurate information is important not only in formulating retirement income security policies that target workers without retirement plan coverage, but also to assess the impact of such policies on workers' retirement plan participation.

Defined Contribution Pension Participation and Contributions by Earnings Levels Using Administrative Data
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Irena Dushi, Howard M. Iams, and Christopher R. Tamborini

This article examines the relationship between earnings levels and participation and contribution rates in defined contribution (DC) retirement plans. Specifically, the article estimates DC plan participation and contribution rates in 2006 both by the worker's current earnings and by the annual average of real earnings over the 10-year period 1997–2006. Using these two different measures of earnings allows us to assess whether employing a longer period of earnings, such as a decade, provides a better representation of pension outcomes than the short-term measure of current earnings.

The Role of Behavioral Economics and Behavioral Decision Making in Americans' Retirement Savings Decisions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 4 (released November 2010)
by Melissa A. Z. Knoll

This article outlines findings from the judgment and decision making (JDM) and behavioral-economics literatures that highlight the many behavioral impediments to saving that individuals may encounter on their way to financial security. It discusses how behavioral and psychological issues, such as self-control, emotions, and choice architecture can help policymakers understand which factors, aside from purely economic ones, may affect individuals' savings behavior.

The Impact of Response Error on Participation Rates and Contributions to Defined Contribution Pension Plans
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 1 (released February 2010)
by Irena Dushi and Howard M. Iams

The accuracy of information about coverage and contributions to defined contribution (DC) pension plans is important in understanding the economic well-being of future retirees because these plans are an increasingly important part of retirement income security. Using data from the 1996 and 2004 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) merged with information from W-2 tax records, we examine the extent to which estimated participation rates and contribution amounts to DC plans derived from SIPP reports differ from estimates obtained from tax-deferred contributions in the W-2 tax records.

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
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.

Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments and the Consumer Price Index
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Clark Burdick and T. Lynn Fisher

Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI, Social Security) benefits are indexed for inflation to protect beneficiaries from the loss of purchasing power implied by inflation. In the absence of such indexing, the purchasing power of Social Security benefits would be eroded as rising prices raised the cost of living. Recently, the Consumer Price Index used to calculate the Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for OASDI benefits has come under increased scrutiny. Some argue that the current index does not accurately reflect the inflation experienced by seniors and that COLAs should be larger. Others argue that the measure of inflation underlying the COLA has technical limitations that cause it to overestimate changes in the cost of living and that COLAs should be smaller. This article discusses some of the issues involved with indexing Social Security benefits for inflation and examines the ramifications of potential changes to COLA calculations.

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 Distributional Consequences of a "No-Action" Scenario: Updated Results
Policy Brief No. 2005-01 (released July 2005)

Under the Social Security program, benefits are paid to retired workers, survivors, and disabled persons out of two trust funds—the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and the Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds. In their 2005 report, the Social Security Trustees projected that the combined OASDI trust funds would be exhausted in 2041. Because the trust funds are used to pay benefits, retirement benefits would have to be reduced somewhat in 2041 and more drastically in 2042.

If no action were taken to strengthen Social Security, the benefit reductions necessitated by the exhaustion of the trust funds would double the poverty rate of Social Security beneficiaries aged 64–78 in 2042, from 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent. However, this increased poverty rate would still be lower than the current poverty rate for beneficiaries aged 62–76, which is 4.6 percent. In addition, the trust funds' exhaustion could lead to lower returns on payroll taxes using traditional "money's-worth" measures.

The Distributional Consequences of a "No-Action" Scenario
Policy Brief No. 2004-01 (released February 2004)
by Andrew G. Biggs

The 2001 report of the Social Security trustees projected that the combined trust funds for the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance programs will be exhausted in 2038. This analysis explains the effects of insolvency on future retirement benefits and poverty rates of beneficiaries if no action is taken to strengthen Social Security.

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.

Family Unit Incomes of the Elderly and Children, 1994
ORES Working Paper No. 70 (released November 1996)
by Daniel B. Radner

The economic status of the elderly and the economic status of children are analyzed using a comprehensive definition of income that takes selected types of noncash income and taxes into account. Estimates are presented for detailed age groups over the entire age range and for socioeconomic classifications within the elderly subgroup and within the subgroup of children. The paper finds that children and the elderly are less well off than the middle age groups. This result is obtained using median incomes and the percentage of the group that has low income, as defined here. When results obtained with the measures presented in this paper are compared with results obtained with more commonly used measures, there are important differences for both the elderly and for children. For both groups, the composition of the low-income population differs in important ways from the composition of the official poverty population.

Incomes of the Elderly and Nonelderly, 1967–92
ORES Working Paper No. 68 (released October 1995)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper examines the money incomes of the elderly and the nonelderly. The economic status of the elderly is put in perspective by discussing changes in real incomes since 1967 and the income of the elderly relative to the incomes of other age groups. Detailed age groups within both the elderly and nonelderly groups are examined. The paper finds that the economic status of the elderly in 1992 was substantially better than in 1967 but was about the same as in 1984. The real median income of the elderly rose from 1967 to 1989 but fell from 1989 to 1992. The ratio of the income of the elderly to that of the nonelderly was higher in 1992 than in 1967, but the 1992 ratio was below the 1984 ratio. Large increases in mean Social Security benefits were important in the increase in the total income of the elderly since 1967.

Noncash Income, Equivalence Scales, and the Measurement of Economic Well-Being
ORES Working Paper No. 63 (released October 1994)
by Daniel B. Radner

The economic well-being of subgroups of the population usually is measured by comparing resources and needs. The measure of resources often includes noncash income. Equivalence scales are used to adjust for differential needs. Little attention, however, has been paid to the desirability of consistency between the specifications of the resources and the equivalence scales in these comparisons. This exploratory paper suggests that a lack of consistency between the definitions used on the income and the needs sides can be important for the assessment of the economic well-being of subgroups when some types of noncash income are included in the definition of income. The measured economic status of the aged in the United States when Medicare noncash income is included in the definition of income is used as an example of this consistency problem. Some previous estimates have used equivalence scales that probably understated the relative needs of the aged by omitting needs associated with Medicare. The measured economic well-being of the aged relative to that of other age groups could be overestimated substantially as a result of this consistency problem. The basic problem is not confined to the treatment of Medicare or to the United States, but is much broader in nature.

Exploring the Use of the Public's Views to Set Income Poverty Thresholds and Adjust Them Over Time
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56 No. 2 (released April 1993)
by Denton R. Vaughan
Changes in the Incomes of Age Groups, 1984–89
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 54 No. 12 (released December 1991)
by Daniel B. Radner
Assessing the Economic Status of the Aged and Nonaged Using Alternative Income-Wealth Measures
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 53 No. 3 (released March 1990)
by Daniel B. Radner
Reflections on the Income Estimates from the Initial Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)
ORES Working Paper No. 39 (released September 1989)
by Denton R. Vaughan

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) represents a major effort on the part of the Federal statistical community to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of information on the economic resources of the household sector and to permit a more accurate portrayal of the impact of government tax and transfer programs on the economic status of the population.

This paper will not offer a comprehensive and definitive statement on the quality of SIPP income data. Neither the time nor resources available to the author, nor indeed, the state of SIPP data products, would permit making such a statement. However, enough information is available to offer a tentative interpretation of important aspects of the income data available from the first SIPP panel. Two broad themes will be touched upon. Since it is generally believed that the major technical defect of income surveys is the substantial tendency to underidentify the sources and amounts of income received by the population, the issue of the completeness of the SIPP money income estimates will be the central issue. A second important aspect of income data has to do with its suitability for analytic purposes.

Net Worth and Financial Assets of Age Groups in 1984
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 52 No. 3 (released March 1989)
by Daniel B. Radner
Economic Security, 1935–85
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48 No. 12 (released December 1985)
by Virginia P. Reno and Susan Grad
The Joint Distribution of Wealth and Income for Age Groups, 1979
ORES Working Paper No. 33 (released March 1984)
by Daniel B. Radner and Denton R. Vaughan

This paper examines the economic well-being of age groups in the U.S. using data on both income and wealth. Although income will be discussed, we will focus on wealth in order to exploit relatively current data on wealth that have become available recently.

Federal Income Taxes, Social Security Taxes, and the U.S. Distribution of Income, 1972
ORES Working Paper No. 7 (released April 1979)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper reports on estimates of federal income tax and Social Security tax liabilities of family units in 1972 and summarizes the methods used to make the estimates. Distributions of income both before and after subtracting those liabilities are shown. Several microdata files were combined using both "exact" and "statistical" matching of individual observations in the process of making these estimates.

Income-Net Worth Measures of Economic Welfare
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 32 No. 11 (released November 1969)
by Dorothy S. Projector and Gertrude S. Weiss
Economic Effects of Internal Migration
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 31 No. 5 (released May 1968)
by Betty G. Fishman
When People Are Forced To Move
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 30 No. 11 (released November 1967)
by Virginia P. Reno
Geographic Labor Mobility in the United States: Recent Findings
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 30 No. 3 (released March 1967)
by Robert E. Marsh
Economic Status, Unemployment, and Family Growth
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 29 No. 5 (released May 1966)
Postwar Economic Perspectives IV. Aftermath of the War
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 3 (released March 1946)
by W. S. Woytinsky
Postwar Economic Perspectives 1. Experience After World War I
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 12 (released December 1945)
by W. S. Woytinsky
Human Aspects of the Transition From War to Peace
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 4 (released April 1945)
by Ewan Clague
The Economic Status of Urban Families and Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 5 (released May 1939)
by I. S. Falk and Barkev S. Sanders

Aged

The Effects of Alternative Demographic and Economic Assumptions on MINT Simulations: A Sensitivity Analysis
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-03 (released April 2014)
by Patrick J. Purcell and Dave Shoffner

The Social Security Administration's (SSA's) Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) estimates income/wealth of future retirees. Estimates are based on demographic information from the Survey of Income and Program Participation: individual earnings histories and projections of interest rates, wage growth, mortality rates, and disability rates. Historically, MINT simulations were based exclusively on SSA's Office of the Chief Actuary's (OCACT's) intermediate-cost projections of key demographic/economic variables. The authors present the results of a sensitivity analysis in which they ran MINT using OCACT's low-cost/high-cost projections of mortality and disability trends. Those simulations estimated characteristics of the population aged 65 or older in 2040 under alternative projections of mortality/disability trends. The authors then describe simulations in which future real rates of return on stocks held in retirement accounts differ from the historical mean real rate of return used in baseline simulations. Sensitivity analyses can help MINT users choose model parameters with the greatest impact on simulation results.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How Did the Recession of 2007–2009 Affect the Wealth and Retirement of the Near Retirement Age Population in the Health and Retirement Study?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 4 (released November 2012)
by Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, and Nahid Tabatabai

This article uses household wealth and labor market data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to investigate how the recent "Great Recession" has affected the wealth and retirement of the Early Boomer cohort, those in the population who were just approaching retirement age at the beginning of the recession. The retirement wealth of people aged 53–58 before the onset of the recession in 2006 declined by a relatively modest 2.8 percent by 2010. For members of older cohorts, wealth had increased by about 5 percent over a comparable age span. The wealth holdings of poorer households were least affected by the recession. Relative losses were greatest for those who initially had the highest wealth when the recession began. The retirement behavior of the Early Boomer cohort looks similar, at least to date, to the behavior observed for members of older cohorts at comparable ages.

Income Replacement Ratios in the Health and Retirement Study
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 3 (released August 2012)
by Patrick J. Purcell

Income typically falls in retirement, and the timing and extent of that decline concerns policymakers. If income from Social Security, pensions, and savings do not allow retirees to maintain their desired standard of living, they will face difficult and perhaps unexpected choices about reducing or eliminating certain kinds of expenditures. The income replacement ratio—retirement income expressed as a percentage of preretirement income—has become a familiar metric for assessing the adequacy of retirement income. This article presents the income replacement ratios experienced by members of the original sample cohort of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), who were born between 1931 and 1941. Median replacement ratios among this sample fall as the retirement period grows longer.

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.

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.

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.

The Increasing Labor Force Participation of Older Workers and its Effect on the Income of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Michael V. Leonesio, Benjamin Bridges, Robert V. Gesumaria, and Linda Del Bene

Higher labor force participation rates for people aged 62–79 are associated with a dramatic increase in the share of their total money income attributable to earnings. For persons aged 65–69, the earnings share increased from 28 percent in 1980 to 42 percent in 2009. Two decades ago, Social Security benefits and earnings were roughly equal shares of total money income (about 30 percent); the earnings share is now more than 12 percentage points larger. The marked increase in the importance of earnings as an income source is also evident throughout the 62–79 age range among Social Security beneficiaries.

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.

Caregiver Credits in France, Germany, and Sweden: Lessons for the United States
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 4 (released November 2011)
by John Jankowski

Analysts have long considered caregiver credits, or pension credits, provided to individuals for time spent out of the workforce caring for dependent children and sick or elderly relatives, as a way to improve the adequacy of retirement benefits for women in the United States. This article examines the experiences of France, Germany, and Sweden with caregiver credits, focusing particularly on the design, administration, and cost of these programs.

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.

Who Never Receives Social Security Benefits?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Kevin Whitman, Gayle L. Reznik, and Dave Shoffner

Approximately 4 percent of the aged population will never receive Social Security benefits. This article examines the prevalence, demographic characteristics, and economic well-being of these never-beneficiaries. Most never-beneficiaries do not have sufficient earnings to be eligible for benefits, and most of these insufficient earners are either late-arriving immigrants or infrequent workers. About 44 percent of never-beneficiaries are in poverty, compared with about 4 percent of current and future beneficiaries.

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.

Using Matched Survey and Administrative Data to Estimate Eligibility for the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 2 (released May 2010)
by Erik Meijer, Lynn A. Karoly, and Pierre-Carl Michaud

This article uses matched survey and administrative data to estimate, as of 2006, the size of the population eligible for the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), which was designed to provide "extra help" with premiums, deductibles, and copayments for Medicare Part D beneficiaries with low income and limited assets. The authors employ individual-level data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Health and Retirement Study to cover the potentially LIS-eligible noninstitutionalized and institutionalized populations of all ages. The survey data are matched to Social Security administrative data to improve on potentially error-ridden survey measures of income components and program participation.

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.

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.

Elderly Poverty and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69 No. 1 (released May 2009)
by Joyce Nicholas and Michael Wiseman

Provided here are the absolute and relative poverty status of 2002 elderly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. Official poverty estimates are generated from the Current Population Survey's Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS/ASEC). The poverty study presented here differs from previous studies in that it is based on CPS/ASEC income and weight records conditionally adjusted by matching Social Security administrative data. This effort improves the coverage of SSI receipt and the accuracy of SSI estimates. The adjusted CPS/administrative matched data reveal lower 2002 poverty rates among elderly persons (with and without SSI payments) than those generated from the unadjusted CPS/ASEC data.

Simplifying the Supplemental Security Income Program: Options for Eliminating the Counting of In-kind Support and Maintenance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 4 (released March 2009)
by Richard Balkus, James Sears, Susan Wilschke, and Bernard Wixon

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program's policies for both living arrangements and in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) are intended to direct program benefits toward persons with the least income and support, but they are considered cumbersome to administer and, in some cases, poorly targeted. Benefit restructuring would simplify the SSI program by replacing ISM-related benefit reductions with benefit reductions for recipients living with another adult. This article presents a microsimulation analysis of two benefit restructuring options, showing that the distributional outcomes under both options are inconsistent with a basic rationale of the SSI program.

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.

A Progressivity Index for Social Security
Issue Paper No. 2009-01 (released January 2009)
by Andrew G. Biggs, Mark A. Sarney, and Christopher R. Tamborini

Using the Social Security Administration's MINT (Modeling Income in the Near Term) model, this paper analyzes the progressivity of the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program for current and future retirees. It uses a progressivity index that provides a summary measure of the distribution of taxes and benefits on a lifetime basis. Results indicate that OASDI lies roughly halfway between a flat replacement rate and a flat dollar benefit for current retirees. Projections suggest that progressivity will remain relatively similar for future retirees. In addition, the paper estimates the effects of several policy changes on progressivity for future retirees.

Cohort Differences in Wealth and Pension Participation of Near-Retirees
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 3 (released December 2008)
by Irena Dushi and Howard M. Iams

This article examines pension participation and nonpension net worth of two cohorts of near retirees. Particularly, the authors look at people born in 1933 through 1939 who were ages 55–61 in 1994, and the more recent cohort consisting of people of the same age in 2004 who were born in 1943 through 1949. Data are from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal, nationally representative survey of older Americans.

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
The Canadian Safety Net for the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 2 (released October 2008)
by Michael Wiseman and Martynas A. Yčas

Canada's Public Pensions System is widely applauded for reducing poverty among the elderly. This article reviews benefits provided to Canada's older people and compares the Canadian system to the U.S. Supplemental Security Income program. Although Canada's system would probably be judged prohibitively expensive for the United States, the authors argue that there are nevertheless lessons to be learned from the Canadian experience.

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.

Chile's Next Generation Pension Reform
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 2 (released October 2008)
by Barbara E. Kritzer

Since its inception in 1981, Chile's system of mandatory individual retirement accounts has become a model for pension reformers around the world. A March 2008 comprehensive pension reform law made major changes that address some key policy challenges including worker coverage, gender equity, pension adequacy, and administrative fees. The cornerstone of the new law sets up a basic universal pension as a supplement to the individual accounts system.

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.

Benefit Adequacy Among Elderly Social Security Retired-Worker Beneficiaries and the SSI Federal Benefit Rate
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 3 (released April 2008)
by Kalman Rupp, Alexander Strand, Paul S. Davies, and James Sears

The federal benefit rate (FBR) of the Supplemental Security Income program provides an inflation-indexed income guarantee for aged and disabled people with low assets. Some consider the FBR as an attractive measure of Social Security benefit adequacy. Others propose the FBR as an administratively simple, well-targeted minimum Social Security benefit. However, these claims have not been empirically tested. Using microdata from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this article finds that the FBR is an imprecise measure of benefit adequacy; it incorrectly identifies as economically vulnerable many who are not poor, and disregards some who are poor. The reason for this is that the FBR-level benefit threshold of adequacy considers the Social Security benefit in isolation and ignores the family consumption unit. The FBR would provide an administratively simple but poorly targeted foundation for a minimum Social Security benefit. The empirical estimates quantify the substantial tradeoffs between administrative simplicity and target effectiveness.

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.

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.

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.

Characteristics of Noninstitutionalized DI and SSI Program Participants
Research and Statistics Note No. 2008-02 (released January 2008)
by Anne DeCesaro and Jeffrey Hemmeter
New Evidence on Earnings and Benefit Claims Following Changes in the Retirement Earnings Test in 2000
ORES Working Paper No. 107 (released June 2006)
by Jae G. Song and Joyce Manchester

In April 2000, Congress enacted the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000, which removed the retirement earnings test for individuals at the full retirement age and older. This paper examines the labor force activity of workers aged 65–69 relative to older and younger workers in response to the removal of the earnings test. We use the 1 percent sample of Social Security administrative data that covers the period from 4 years before to 4 years following the removal of the test. Quantile regression methods allow us to identify the earnings levels of workers who change their work effort.

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.

Income Growth and Future Poverty Rates of the Aged
ORES Working Paper No. 94 (released September 2001)
by Seyda G. Wentworth and David Pattison

This paper estimates effects on elderly poverty rates of a steady growth in incomes for 50 years. It assumes that the poverty threshold continues to be adjusted for inflation but not for increases in real incomes. Simulations with the March 1998 Current Population Survey indicate that if Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit rules are not changed and if earnings and other incomes grow by 1 percent per year (the growth rate in earnings assumed in the Social Security Trustees' Report intermediate scenario) in an otherwise unchanging population, poverty among the elderly will decrease from 10.5 percent to about 7.7 percent in 2020 and to 4.8 percent in 2047. Those projected poverty rates are quite sensitive to the earnings growth rate assumption and to the assumption that benefits are not further reduced to maintain solvency. The paper quantifies the sensitivity to these assumptions and discusses several other aspects that might affect future poverty rates—changes in other income components like SSI, earnings, and pensions; changes in longevity and marital patterns; and changes in the distribution of earnings.

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.

Family Unit Incomes of the Elderly and Children, 1994
ORES Working Paper No. 70 (released November 1996)
by Daniel B. Radner

The economic status of the elderly and the economic status of children are analyzed using a comprehensive definition of income that takes selected types of noncash income and taxes into account. Estimates are presented for detailed age groups over the entire age range and for socioeconomic classifications within the elderly subgroup and within the subgroup of children. The paper finds that children and the elderly are less well off than the middle age groups. This result is obtained using median incomes and the percentage of the group that has low income, as defined here. When results obtained with the measures presented in this paper are compared with results obtained with more commonly used measures, there are important differences for both the elderly and for children. For both groups, the composition of the low-income population differs in important ways from the composition of the official poverty population.

Incomes of the Elderly and Nonelderly, 1967–92
ORES Working Paper No. 68 (released October 1995)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper examines the money incomes of the elderly and the nonelderly. The economic status of the elderly is put in perspective by discussing changes in real incomes since 1967 and the income of the elderly relative to the incomes of other age groups. Detailed age groups within both the elderly and nonelderly groups are examined. The paper finds that the economic status of the elderly in 1992 was substantially better than in 1967 but was about the same as in 1984. The real median income of the elderly rose from 1967 to 1989 but fell from 1989 to 1992. The ratio of the income of the elderly to that of the nonelderly was higher in 1992 than in 1967, but the 1992 ratio was below the 1984 ratio. Large increases in mean Social Security benefits were important in the increase in the total income of the elderly since 1967.

Noncash Income, Equivalence Scales, and the Measurement of Economic Well-Being
ORES Working Paper No. 63 (released October 1994)
by Daniel B. Radner

The economic well-being of subgroups of the population usually is measured by comparing resources and needs. The measure of resources often includes noncash income. Equivalence scales are used to adjust for differential needs. Little attention, however, has been paid to the desirability of consistency between the specifications of the resources and the equivalence scales in these comparisons. This exploratory paper suggests that a lack of consistency between the definitions used on the income and the needs sides can be important for the assessment of the economic well-being of subgroups when some types of noncash income are included in the definition of income. The measured economic status of the aged in the United States when Medicare noncash income is included in the definition of income is used as an example of this consistency problem. Some previous estimates have used equivalence scales that probably understated the relative needs of the aged by omitting needs associated with Medicare. The measured economic well-being of the aged relative to that of other age groups could be overestimated substantially as a result of this consistency problem. The basic problem is not confined to the treatment of Medicare or to the United States, but is much broader in nature.

The Economic Well-Being of the Old Old: Family Unit Income and Household Wealth
ORES Working Paper No. 58 (released February 1993)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper examines the family income and the household wealth and income of old old persons. Subgroups of the old old are compared, and the old old are compared with the young old. When the old old group is separated into three subgroups—widows living alone, other females, and males—the economic status of widows living alone is substantially below that of the other two subgroups. This difference is found when income, wealth, and combined income-wealth measures are used. When the old old group is compared with the young old group, the economic status of the old old is substantially lower for all measures examined. When the three subgroups within both the old old and young old groups are compared, the economic status of each subgroup is lower for the old old for most measures. Income data from the March 1991 Current Population Survey and wealth and income data from the 1984 Survey of Income and Program Participation are used.

The Role of Pensions in Retirement Income: Trends and Questions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56 No. 1 (released January 1993)
by Virginia P. Reno
Economic Well-Being of the Old Old: Family Unit Income and Household Wealth
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56 No. 1 (released January 1993)
by Daniel B. Radner
The Economic Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 55 No. 3 (released July 1992)
by Daniel B. Radner
An Assessment of the Economic Status of the Aged
ORES Working Paper No. 55 (released April 1992)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper discusses what is known about the economic status of the aged. Numerous complexities involved in the assessment of the economic status of the aged are discussed. Compared with most other recent assessments, this study shows a less favorable status for the aged relative to other age groups. The focus is on an examination of detailed age groups, rather than summary aged and nonaged groups, thus providing a more complete picture of age differences. More than most other assessments, this study stresses uncertainty about the relative status of the aged and emphasizes what we do not know. The need for better adjustments for differences in needs among age and other subgroups of the population is stressed. The need for consistency between the definition of resources and the specification of needs is also emphasized. The vulnerability of the aged to economic risks is discussed.

Income, Assets, and Health Insurance: Economic Resources for Meeting Acute Health Care Needs of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 55 No. 1 (released January 1992)
by Linda Del Bene and Denton R. Vaughan
Changes in the Incomes of Age Groups, 1984–1989
ORES Working Paper No. 51 (released September 1991)
by Daniel B. Radner

In recent years there has been great interest in the economic status of the aged, especially in connection with the debates about the appropriate level of Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage and financing. The economic status of the aged relative to other age groups has been of particular interest in these debates. This paper examines changes in the before-tax cash income of the aged and of other age groups from 1984 to 1989. Earlier research found that the real income of the aged rose substantially, both absolutely and relative to the income of the nonaged, from about 1970 to the mid-1980s. It is shown here that from 1984 to 1989 the real income of the aged rose slowly, and fell slightly relative to the income of the nonaged. The different rates of income growth for different aged groups are explored in this paper, with the emphasis on differences between the aged and nonaged. This paper also serves as an update of an earlier paper that contained estimates for the 1967–1984 period. The estimates in this paper generally are consistent with those presented in the earlier article.

Alternative Estimates of Economic Well-Being by Age Using Data on Wealth and Income
ORES Working Paper No. 42 (released March 1990)
by Daniel B. Radner

Most analyses of economic status use only income as the measure of resources. It is clear, however, that wealth also plays an important role in economic well-being. The existence of both income and asset tests for eligibility purposes in several government transfer programs (e.g., Supplemental Security Income, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, food stamps) suggests the importance of both wealth and income. Units of the same age, income, and needs are not equally well off if they have different amounts of wealth. A fully satisfactory way of taking differences in wealth into account in a combined income-wealth measure is not available. Particularly controversial is the comparison of different age groups when such measures are used. This exploratory paper examines the use of income-wealth measures for the analysis of the distribution of economic well-being for age groups in the current period.

Assessing the Economic Status of the Aged and Nonaged Using Alternative Income-Wealth Measures
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 53 No. 3 (released March 1990)
by Daniel B. Radner
Commentary: Economic Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51 No. 12 (released December 1988)
by Ida C. Merriam
Postwar Changes in the Income Position of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51 No. 12 (released December 1988)
by Jacob Fisher
Income of the Aged in 1962: First Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51 No. 3 (released March 1988)
by Lenore A. Epstein
The Wealth of the Aged and Nonaged, 1984
ORES Working Paper No. 36 (released January 1988)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper discusses and illustrates the use of wealth data for the analysis of the economic status of households. Selected estimates of wealth for 1984 from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) are used as illustrations. The particular focus is on the wealth of age groups, with a special interest in the aged. Comparisons of the amounts and composition of wealth of the aged and nonaged (and of more detailed age groups) are presented. The emphasis is on the economic resources available to households other than the very wealthy. The degree of concentration of wealth, the subject that wealth data traditionally have been used to examine, is not discussed. Thus, this paper reflects a somewhat different perspective on the use of wealth data.

Shifts in the Aged-Nonaged Income Relationship, 1979–85
ORES Working Paper No. 35 (released January 1988)
by Daniel B. Radner

In recent years there has been a substantial amount of discussion about the economic status of the aged. There is a widely accepted view that the status of the aged has improved relative to the nonaged. This view has affected the debate on modifications to the Social Security system and other retirement plans. This paper discusses changes in the economic status of the aged during the past several years, in terms of the real income of the aged and in terms of the income of the aged relative to the income of the nonaged. The analysis uses detailed age groups within both the aged and nonaged groups. This detail is important because summary age groups are not homogeneous. Income change at different income levels within each age group is also examined. Income is adjusted for size of family unit and, in some cases, age of head.

Money Incomes of Aged and Nonaged Family Units, 1967–84
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 50 No. 8 (released August 1987)
by Daniel B. Radner
Income of Retirement-Aged Persons in the United States
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 50 No. 7 (released July 1987)
by Martynas A. Yčas and Susan Grad
Assets of New Retired-Worker Beneficiaries: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48 No. 7 (released July 1985)
by Sally R. Sherman
Incomes of the Aged and Nonaged, 1950–82
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 47 No. 6 (released June 1984)
by Susan Grad
Family Income, Age, and Size of Unit: Selected International Comparisons
ORES Working Paper No. 32 (released February 1984)
by Daniel B. Radner

This exploratory paper examines the role of age in the distribution of family income in several countries. Unlike most papers that compare the distribution of income across countries, the primary concern in this paper is not with comparisons of the overall degree of inequality. Instead we are more interested in two aspects of the cross-section relationship between age and income. First, we are interested in the relative economic well-being of income recipient units in different age (of head) groups in several developed countries. In the U.S. in recent years, in connection with modifications to the social security system, there has been considerable discussion of the "fair" level of income of the aged population. That discussion has led us to a particular interest in the relative economic well-being of the aged population in other developed countries. Where the data allow, the aged (age 65 and over) group is split into 65–69 and 70 and over age groups as at least partial recognition that economic well-being can differ markedly among subgroups of the aged population. (Other important characteristics such as labor force participation, sex, and the receipt of government retirement income could not be examined.) This paper attempts an initial look at the very complex subject of the relative economic well-being of different age groups in several countries.

Relative Importance of Various Income Sources of the Aged, 1980
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 46 No. 1 (released January 1983)
by Melinda M. Upp
A Look at the Economic Status of the Aged Then and Now
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 45 No. 3 (released March 1982)
by Melinda M. Upp
The Income and Resources of the Elderly in 1978
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 12 (released December 1981)
by Robert E. Marsh
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
Aged Widows and OASDI: Age At and Economic Status Before and After Receipt of Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 3 (released March 1981)
by Gayle Thompson Rogers
Assets of the Elderly as They Retire
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 1 (released January 1981)
by Joseph Friedman and Jane Sjogren
Price and Income Changes for the Elderly
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 1 (released January 1981)
by Benjamin Bridges and Michael D. Packard
A General Model of Labor-Market Behavior of Older Persons
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43 No. 4 (released April 1980)
by Marjorie Honig and Giora Hanoch
Low-Income Widows and Other Aged Singles
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42 No. 12 (released December 1979)
by Thomas Tissue
Income of the Population Aged 55 and Older, 1976
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42 No. 7 (released July 1979)
by Susan Grad and Karen Foster
National Survey of the Black Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 41 No. 7 (released July 1978)
by Ethel Shanas and Gloria Heinemann
Changes in Food Expenditures, 1969–73: Findings From the Retirement History Study
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 41 No. 7 (released July 1978)
by Janet H. Murray
Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Elderly: Some Black-White Differences
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40 No. 7 (released July 1977)
by Julian Abbott
Aged Women OASDI Beneficiaries: Income and Characteristics, 1971
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40 No. 4 (released April 1977)
by Gayle B. Thompson
Retirement History Study's First Four Years: Work, Health, and Living Arrangements
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 39 No. 12 (released December 1976)
by Kathleen Bond
Economically Dependent Persons Without Pension Coverage in Old Age
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 38 No. 10 (released October 1975)
by Susan Grad
Work Experience and Income of the Population Aged 60 and Older, 1971
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 37 No. 11 (released November 1974)
by Gayle B. Thompson
Expenditure Patterns of Welfare, Aged, and Disabled Households
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 37 No. 8 (released August 1974)
by Teh-wei Hu, Norman L. Knaub, and Sharif Ghalib
Relative Importance of Income Sources of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 36 No. 8 (released August 1973)
by Susan Grad
Benefit Levels of Newly Retired Workers: Findings from the Survey of New Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 34 No. 7 (released July 1971)
by Virginia P. Reno and Carol Zuckert
Benefit Levels and Socio-economic Characteristics: Findings from the 1969 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 33 No. 8 (released August 1970)
by Patience Lauriat
Income of People Aged 65 and Older: Overview From 1968 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 33 No. 4 (released April 1970)
by Lenore E. Bixby
Personal Health Care Expenditures of the Aged and Nonaged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 31 No. 8 (released August 1968)
by Dorothy P. Rice, Arne Anderson, and Barbara S. Cooper
Immediate Effects of Benefit Increases in 1967 Amendments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 31 No. 7 (released July 1968)
Aged Persons Receiving Both OASDI and OAA, Early 1967
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 31 No. 4 (released April 1968)
Improving the Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 29 No. 12 (released December 1966)
by Wilbur J. Cohen
Employment of Older Workers and Size of Employing Units
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 28 No. 9 (released September 1965)
by Sebastia Svolos
Potential Income From Assets: Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 12 (released December 1964)
by Janet H. Murray
Assets of the Aged in 1962: Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 11 (released November 1964)
by Leon D. Platky
Aged Persons Receiving Both OASDI and PA, Early 1963
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 10 (released October 1964)
by David B. Eppley
Medical Care Costs for the Aged: First Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 7 (released July 1964)
by Elizabeth A. Langford
Work Experience and Earnings of the Aged in 1962: Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 6 (released June 1964)
by Erdman Palmore
Income of the Aged in 1962: First Findings of the 1963 Survey of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 3 (released March 1964)
by Lenore A. Epstein
The Aged Negro and His Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 2 (released February 1964)
by Mollie Orshansky
Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Beneficiaries Newly Approved for Old-Age Assistance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 12 (released December 1963)
by David H. Clark
Living Arrangements and Income of the Aged, 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 9 (released September 1963)
by Lenore A. Epstein
State Variations in Income of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 1 (released January 1963)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Sources and Size of Money Income of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 1 (released January 1962)
by Lenore A. Epstein
The Aged in The Population in 1960 and Their Income Sources
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 24 No. 7 (released July 1961)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income of Aged Persons, Mid-1960
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 24 No. 1 (released January 1961)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Budget for an Elderly Couple: Interim Revision by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23 No. 12 (released December 1960)
by Mollie Orshansky
Money Income Sources of Aged Persons, December 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23 No. 7 (released July 1960)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Selected Sources of Money Income for Aged Persons, June 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22 No. 12 (released December 1959)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income of Aged Persons: A 10-Year Review, 1948 to 1958
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22 No. 6 (released June 1959)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Selected Sources of Money Income for Aged Persons, June 1958
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 21 No. 12 (released December 1958)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Selected Sources of Money Income for Aged Persons
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 12 (released December 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Old-Age Assistance: Children's Contributions to Aged Parents
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 6 (released June 1957)
by Saul Kaplan
Money Income Sources of the Aged, December 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 6 (released June 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Recipients of Old-Age Assistance: Personal and Social Characteristics
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 4 (released April 1957)
by Frank J. Hanmer
Money Income Sources for Persons Aged 65 and Over, June 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 12 (released December 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
The Federal-State Conference on Aging
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 8 (released August 1956)
by Dorothy McCamman
Money Income Sources for Persons Aged 65 and Over, December 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 6 (released June 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Assets Held by Aged Beneficiaries of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance at End of 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 5 (released May 1956)
by Vivian B. Norman
Recipients of Old-Age Assistance: Income and Resources
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 4 (released April 1956)
by Charles E. Hawkins
Money Income Position of the Aged, 1948 to 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 4 (released April 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources for Persons Aged 65 and Over, June 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18 No. 12 (released December 1955)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Economic Resources of Persons Aged 65 and Over
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18 No. 6 (released June 1955)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Part-Time Employment of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18 No. 3 (released March 1955)
by Warren J. Baker
Economic Status of Aged Persons, June 1954
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 12 (released December 1954)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Size of Income and Personal Characteristics of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 10 (released October 1954)
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors, December 1953
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 6 (released June 1954)
Economic Situation of Aged Insurance Beneficiaries: An Evaluation
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 4 (released April 1954)
by Edna C. Wentworth
Postwar Changes in the Income Position of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 2 (released February 1954)
by Jacob Fisher
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors, June 1953
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16 No. 12 (released December 1953)
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors, December 1952
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16 No. 6 (released June 1953)
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors, June 1952
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 15 No. 12 (released December 1952)
Resources of Aged Insurance Beneficiaries: 1951 National Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 15 No. 8 (released August 1952)
by Edna C. Wentworth
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors, December 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 15 No. 6 (released June 1952)
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors, June 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14 No. 12 (released December 1951)
Children's Contributions to Old-Age Assistance Recipients in North Dakota and South Dakota
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14 No. 8 (released August 1951)
by Saul Kaplan
Income of Aged Persons, 1948
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14 No. 7 (released July 1951)
by Jacob Fisher
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Survivors
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14 No. 6 (released June 1951)
Economic Status of Aged Persons and Dependent Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 12 (released December 1950)
The Conference on Aging
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 10 (released October 1950)
by Clark Tibbitts
Economic Status of the Aged and Dependent Survivors
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 6 (released June 1950)
Income of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Beneficiaries, 1941 and 1949
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 5 (released May 1950)
by Edna C. Wentworth
Budget for an Elderly Couple
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 7 (released July 1949)
Aged Beneficiaries of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and the Aged Population
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1 (released January 1949)
Nonrelief Income of Retired Insurance Beneficiaries in Boston
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 9 (released September 1948)
A Budget for an Elderly Couple
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 2 (released February 1948)
Budgeting To Meet Total Needs
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 11, No. 2 (released February 1948)
by Evalyn G. Weller
Net Worth of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 10 (released October 1947)
by Erna Magnus
Changes in the Resources of Beneficiary Groups in St. Louis
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 8 (released August 1947)
by Lelia M. Easson
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
The Needs of the Aged in Relation to Need Among Other Groups
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 8 (released August 1941)
by Arthur J. Altmeyer
Economic Status of the Aged in Urban Households
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 10 (released October 1940)
by Barkev S. Sanders
Economic Status of the Aged
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 1–3 (released March 1938)
by Marjorie Shearon

Baby Boomers

The Social Security Windfall Elimination and Government Pension Offset Provisions for Public Employees in the Health and Retirement Study
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74 No. 3 (released August 2014)
by Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, and Nahid Tabatabai

This article examines the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset. These provisions reduce the Social Security benefits of workers (and the resulting benefits of their spouses) if the prime beneficiary worked in “noncovered” employment (in which Social Security payroll taxes were not paid) and the noncovered job provided a pension, or if the spouse or survivor earned a pension from noncovered work. Using Health and Retirement Study data uniquely suited to the analysis, the authors calculate the household-level average lifetime benefit reductions resulting from these provisions and examine them in the context of lifetime Social Security income, pension income, and total wealth. The analysis also isolates the effects of pensions from noncovered employment on benefit adjustments and wealth.

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 Did the Recession of 2007–2009 Affect the Wealth and Retirement of the Near Retirement Age Population in the Health and Retirement Study?
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 4 (released November 2012)
by Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier, and Nahid Tabatabai

This article uses household wealth and labor market data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to investigate how the recent "Great Recession" has affected the wealth and retirement of the Early Boomer cohort, those in the population who were just approaching retirement age at the beginning of the recession. The retirement wealth of people aged 53–58 before the onset of the recession in 2006 declined by a relatively modest 2.8 percent by 2010. For members of older cohorts, wealth had increased by about 5 percent over a comparable age span. The wealth holdings of poorer households were least affected by the recession. Relative losses were greatest for those who initially had the highest wealth when the recession began. The retirement behavior of the Early Boomer cohort looks similar, at least to date, to the behavior observed for members of older cohorts at comparable 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.

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.

The Role of Behavioral Economics and Behavioral Decision Making in Americans' Retirement Savings Decisions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 4 (released November 2010)
by Melissa A. Z. Knoll

This article outlines findings from the judgment and decision making (JDM) and behavioral-economics literatures that highlight the many behavioral impediments to saving that individuals may encounter on their way to financial security. It discusses how behavioral and psychological issues, such as self-control, emotions, and choice architecture can help policymakers understand which factors, aside from purely economic ones, may affect individuals' savings behavior.

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.

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.

A Progressivity Index for Social Security
Issue Paper No. 2009-01 (released January 2009)
by Andrew G. Biggs, Mark A. Sarney, and Christopher R. Tamborini

Using the Social Security Administration's MINT (Modeling Income in the Near Term) model, this paper analyzes the progressivity of the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program for current and future retirees. It uses a progressivity index that provides a summary measure of the distribution of taxes and benefits on a lifetime basis. Results indicate that OASDI lies roughly halfway between a flat replacement rate and a flat dollar benefit for current retirees. Projections suggest that progressivity will remain relatively similar for future retirees. In addition, the paper estimates the effects of several policy changes on progressivity for future retirees.

Cohort Differences in Wealth and Pension Participation of Near-Retirees
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 3 (released December 2008)
by Irena Dushi and Howard M. Iams

This article examines pension participation and nonpension net worth of two cohorts of near retirees. Particularly, the authors look at people born in 1933 through 1939 who were ages 55–61 in 1994, and the more recent cohort consisting of people of the same age in 2004 who were born in 1943 through 1949. Data are from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal, nationally representative survey of older Americans.

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
The Retirement Prospects of the Baby Boom Generation
ORES Working Paper No. 74 (released January 1998)
by Daniel B. Radner

This paper examines the financial prospects of the baby boomers in their elderly years. The paper primarily attempts to draw together and summarize results found by other researchers, but a few new estimates are presented. The consensus of the research appears to be the following. Up to this point, the baby boom generation as a whole has a higher economic status than their parents' generation did at the same ages, but this does not hold for some subgroups. When it becomes elderly, the baby boom generation as a whole probably will have a higher economic status than their parents' generation has and will have at those ages, but, again, this may not hold for some subgroups. It is uncertain whether the baby boom generation as a whole will have enough resources in retirement to maintain their preretirement standard of living without increasing their saving or retiring later, but some subgroups will be able to maintain their living standard without changing their behavior.

Children

Earnings and Disability Program Participation of Youth Transition Demonstration Participants after 24 Months
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74 No. 1 (released February 2014)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter

This article presents earnings and Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program payment outcomes for youths participating in SSA's Youth Transition Demonstration project. Participants were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups at each of six project sites. The author provides overviews of the project sites and compares treatment- and control-group youths' earnings 1 year and 2 years after random assignment, and disability program payment receipt 24 months after random assignment.

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.

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.

Linking Youth Transition Support Services: Results from Two Demonstration Projects
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Christa Bucks Camacho and Jeffrey Hemmeter

This article presents an overview of two projects in the Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration: California's Bridges to Youth Self-Sufficiency and Mississippi's Model Youth Transition Innovation. We describe the projects' organization and the services they delivered. We also provide statistics on earnings and Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance receipt 5 years after project enrollment and provide case studies of two project participants.

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.

A Profile of Social Security Child Beneficiaries and their Families: Sociodemographic and Economic Characteristics
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 1 (released February 2011)
by Christopher R. Tamborini, Emily Cupito, and Dave Shoffner

This article presents the sociodemographic and economic characteristics of Social Security child beneficiaries. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation matched with administrative benefit records, we find important differences in the incidence of child benefit receipt and average benefit amount across a number of individual and family-level characteristics. We also examine the demographic and income characteristics of the three beneficiary types: child of deceased worker, child of disabled worker, and child of retired worker.

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.

How Post Secondary Education Improves Adult Outcomes for Supplemental Security Income Children with Severe Hearing Impairments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Robert R. Weathers II, Gerard Walter, Sara Schley, John C. Hennessey, Jeffrey Hemmeter, and Richard V. Burkhauser

This article uses a unique longitudinal dataset based on administrative data from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) linked to Social Security Administration (SSA) microdata to conduct a case study of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) children who applied for postsecondary education at NTID. The authors estimate the likelihood that SSI children who apply to NTID will eventually graduate relative to other hearing impaired applicants, as well as the influence of graduation from NTID on participation in the SSI program as adults and later success in the labor market. Findings indicate that SSI children are substantially less likely to graduate from NTID than their fellow deaf students who did not participate in the SSI program as children, but that those who do graduate spend less time in the SSI adult program and have higher age-earnings profiles than those who do not graduate.

An Overview of the National Survey of SSI Children and Families and Related Products
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 66 No. 2 (released May 2006)
by Paul S. Davies and Kalman Rupp

During the first three decades of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, the number of children receiving SSI because of a disability increased from 70,000 in 1974 to about 1 million at the end of 2005. With over 8,500 interviews completed between July 2001 and June 2002, the National Survey of SSI Children and Families (NSCF) is the first nationally representative survey since 1978 of noninstitutionalized children and young adults who were receiving SSI during the survey period or had formerly received SSI. The article discusses the objectives of the survey, its methodology and implementation, content of the questionnaire, a randomized response-incentive experiment, and related products including the release of a public-use data file.

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.

Family Unit Incomes of the Elderly and Children, 1994
ORES Working Paper No. 70 (released November 1996)
by Daniel B. Radner

The economic status of the elderly and the economic status of children are analyzed using a comprehensive definition of income that takes selected types of noncash income and taxes into account. Estimates are presented for detailed age groups over the entire age range and for socioeconomic classifications within the elderly subgroup and within the subgroup of children. The paper finds that children and the elderly are less well off than the middle age groups. This result is obtained using median incomes and the percentage of the group that has low income, as defined here. When results obtained with the measures presented in this paper are compared with results obtained with more commonly used measures, there are important differences for both the elderly and for children. For both groups, the composition of the low-income population differs in important ways from the composition of the official poverty population.

The Influence of Social Security Benefits and SSI Payments on the Poverty Status of Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 57 No. 2 (released April 1994)
by John R. Kearney, Herman F. Grundmann, and Salvatore J. Gallicchio
Young Widows and Their Children: A Comparative Report
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 38 No. 5 (released May 1975)
by Lucy B. Mallan
Factors Associated With School Dropouts and Juvenile Delinquency Among Lower-Class Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 10 (released October 1963)
by Erdman Palmore
Money Income Sources of Young Survivors, December 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23 No. 9 (released September 1960)
by Mollie Orshansky
Title V of the Social Security Act: What It Has Meant to Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 23 No. 8 (released August 1960)
by Katherine B. Oettinger
Money Income Sources for Young Survivors, December 1957
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 21 No. 8 (released August 1958)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Children Served by Public Child Welfare Programs, 1946–57
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 21 No. 5 (released May 1958)
by Helen R. Jeter and Henry C. Lajewski
Money Income Sources for Orphans and Young Widows, December 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 8 (released August 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Adoptions in 1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 6 (released June 1957)
by Henry C. Lajewski
Money Income Sources for Young Survivors
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 8 (released August 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Today's Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 3 (released March 1956)
by Charles I. Schottland
Money Income Sources for Young Widows and Orphans, Mid-1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 2 (released February 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Twenty Years of Progress for Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18 No. 8 (released August 1955)
by Martha M. Eliot
Toward Greater Security in Childhood
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18 No. 4 (released April 1955)
by Charles I. Schottland
Orphanhood—A Diminishing Problem
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 18 No. 3 (released March 1955)
by Louis O. Shudde
Economic Status of Widows and Paternal Orphans, June 1954
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 12 (released December 1954)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Orphans in the United States, July 1, 1953
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 7 (released July 1954)
by Louis O. Shudde
Adoption of Children in 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16 No. 3 (released March 1953)
by I. Richard Perlman and Jack Wiener
Future Citizens All: A Report on Aid to Dependent Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16 No. 1 (released January 1953)
by Gordon W. Blackwell and Raymond F. Gould
Recommendations of the White House Conference on Children and Youth
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14 No. 2 (released February 1951)
Fact-Finding for the White House Conference on Children and Youth
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 11 (released November 1950)
by Melvin A. Glasser
Orphans in the United States: Number and Living Arrangements
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 8 (released August 1950)
by Jacob Fisher
Services for Children: Three Programs of the Children's Bureau
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 5 (released May 1950)
Guardianship of Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 13 No. 1–2 (released February 1950)
by Alice Scott Hyatt
The Dependents of Workers: Selected Data on Numbers and Types
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1 (released January 1949)
by Marvin S. Bloom
Characteristics and Incomes of Families Assisted by Aid to Dependent Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 7 (released July 1946)
Children and Family Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 1 (released January 1945)
by Thomas J. Woofter, Jr.
Administration of the Servicemen's Dependents Allowance Act of 1942
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 7 (released July 1943)
by Harry Grossman
Children in Urban and Rural Families
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 10 (released October 1939)
by Barkev S. Sanders and Doris Carlton
The Economic Status of Urban Families and Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 5 (released May 1939)
by I. S. Falk and Barkev S. Sanders

Disabled

Recruitment in the Mental Health Treatment Study: A Behavioral Health/Employment Intervention for Social Security Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74 No. 2 (released May 2014)
by David S. Salkever, Brent Gibbons, William D. Frey, Roline Milfort, Julie Bollmer, Thomas W. Hale, Robert E. Drake, and Howard H. Goldman

The recent development of evidence-based behavioral health and vocational rehabilitation interventions for persons with serious psychiatric impairments created the impetus for exploring the efficacy of those interventions if they were widely available to Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. As a first step in this endeavor—a multisite randomized trial for providing interventions to beneficiaries with psychiatric impairments—the Mental Health Treatment Study was implemented. The authors report on the subject recruitment patterns for the study, including assessment of take-up rates, and on the statistical analysis of the relationships between beneficiaries' characteristics and the probability of enrollment. Results indicated that take-up rates among potential MHTS subjects with confirmed telephone contacts met or exceeded rates for previous Social Security Administration randomized trials, and beneficiaries with administrative records of recent vocational or labor-market activity were most likely to enroll. The authors discuss implications of their analyses on recruitment in similar interventions in the future.

Earnings and Disability Program Participation of Youth Transition Demonstration Participants after 24 Months
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74 No. 1 (released February 2014)
by Jeffrey Hemmeter

This article presents earnings and Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program payment outcomes for youths participating in SSA's Youth Transition Demonstration project. Participants were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups at each of six project sites. The author provides overviews of the project sites and compares treatment- and control-group youths' earnings 1 year and 2 years after random assignment, and disability program payment receipt 24 months after random assignment.

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.

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.

Disability Shocks Near Retirement Age and Financial Well-Being
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 3 (released August 2013)
by Irena Dushi and Kalman Rupp

Using Health and Retirement Study data, the authors examine three groups of adults aged 51–56 in 1992 with different disability experiences over the following 8 years. Our analysis reveals three major findings. First, people who started and stayed nondisabled experienced stable financial security, with substantial improvement in household wealth despite substantial labor force withdrawal. Second, people who started as nondisabled but suffered a disability shock experienced a substantial increase in poverty rates and a sharp decline in median incomes. Average earnings loss was the greatest for that group, with public and private benefits replacing less than half of the loss, whereas the reduction in private health insurance coverage was more than alleviated by the increase in public health insurance coverage. Third, people who started and stayed disabled were behind at the baseline and have fallen further behind on most measures. An important exception is substantial improvement in health insurance coverage because of public safety nets.

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.

Identifying SSA's Sequential Disability Determination Steps Using Administrative Data
Research and Statistics Note No. 2013-01 (released June 2013)
by Bernard Wixon and Alexander Strand

The authors document the steps used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and state Disability Determination Service (DDS) agencies to make initial determinations about eligibility for Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. For both adults and children, SSA/DDSs record the basis for initial disability determinations using codes that correspond to the steps of the process. The resulting data element, the Regulation Basis Code, permits researchers to distinguish allowances based on the Listings from those based on medical/vocational factors for adults (or functional factors for children). It can also be used to identify denials based on severity, residual functional capacity, or other reasons.

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.

Linking Youth Transition Support Services: Results from Two Demonstration Projects
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 1 (released February 2013)
by Christa Bucks Camacho and Jeffrey Hemmeter

This article presents an overview of two projects in the Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration: California's Bridges to Youth Self-Sufficiency and Mississippi's Model Youth Transition Innovation. We describe the projects' organization and the services they delivered. We also provide statistics on earnings and Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance receipt 5 years after project enrollment and provide case studies of two project participants.

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.

Employment of Individuals in the Social Security Disability Programs
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Paul O'Leary, Gina A. Livermore, and David C. Stapleton

This article introduces and highlights the key findings of the other articles presented in this special issue, which focuses on the employment of beneficiaries in the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs.

Longitudinal Outcomes of an Early Cohort of Ticket to Work Participants
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Gina A. Livermore and Allison Roche

Using data from the 2004–2006 National Beneficiary Surveys matched to Social Security administrative data, this study follows a cohort of disability beneficiaries participating in the Ticket to Work program for several years to assess changes in their service use, health status, employment, and income.

Social Security Disability Beneficiaries with Work-Related Goals and Expectations
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 3 (released August 2011)
by Gina A. Livermore

This study uses survey and administrative data to analyze the characteristics of working-age Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries who report having work goals or expectations, and the extent to which these beneficiaries become employed and leave the disability rolls during a 4-year period.

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.

Longitudinal Patterns of Participation in the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Programs for People with Disabilities
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 2 (released May 2011)
by Kalman Rupp and Gerald F. Riley

We analyze longitudinal interactions in benefit eligibility between the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs and the lags arising from processing time in receiving the first payment, based on Social Security administrative records. We find that longitudinal interactions enhancing the bundle of cash benefits available for awardees over a 60-month period is much more common than apparent from cross-sectional data and identify distinct patterns of longitudinal interactions between the two programs. SSI plays an especially important role in providing benefit eligibility during the 5-month DI waiting period. Transition to nonbeneficiary status is more prevalent among SSI awardees because of exits attributable to the SSI means test. We also find that there is substantial variation in the lag in receiving the first disability payment.

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.

Using Matched Survey and Administrative Data to Estimate Eligibility for the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 2 (released May 2010)
by Erik Meijer, Lynn A. Karoly, and Pierre-Carl Michaud

This article uses matched survey and administrative data to estimate, as of 2006, the size of the population eligible for the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), which was designed to provide "extra help" with premiums, deductibles, and copayments for Medicare Part D beneficiaries with low income and limited assets. The authors employ individual-level data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and the Health and Retirement Study to cover the potentially LIS-eligible noninstitutionalized and institutionalized populations of all ages. The survey data are matched to Social Security administrative data to improve on potentially error-ridden survey measures of income components and program participation.

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 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.

Simplifying the Supplemental Security Income Program: Options for Eliminating the Counting of In-kind Support and Maintenance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 4 (released March 2009)
by Richard Balkus, James Sears, Susan Wilschke, and Bernard Wixon

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program's policies for both living arrangements and in-kind support and maintenance (ISM) are intended to direct program benefits toward persons with the least income and support, but they are considered cumbersome to administer and, in some cases, poorly targeted. Benefit restructuring would simplify the SSI program by replacing ISM-related benefit reductions with benefit reductions for recipients living with another adult. This article presents a microsimulation analysis of two benefit restructuring options, showing that the distributional outcomes under both options are inconsistent with a basic rationale of the SSI program.

The Effects of Wage Indexing on Social Security Disability Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 3 (released December 2008)
by L. Scott Muller

Researchers David Autor and Mark Duggan have hypothesized that the Social Security benefit formula using the average wage index, coupled with a widening distribution of income, has created an implicit rise in replacement rates for low-earner disability beneficiaries. This research attempts to confirm and quantify the replacement rate creep identified by Autor and Duggan using actual earnings histories of disability-insured workers over the period 1979–2004. The research finds that disability replacement rates are rising for many insured workers, although the effect may be somewhat smaller than that suggested by Autor and Duggan.

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.

How Post Secondary Education Improves Adult Outcomes for Supplemental Security Income Children with Severe Hearing Impairments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67 No. 2 (released February 2008)
by Robert R. Weathers II, Gerard Walter, Sara Schley, John C. Hennessey, Jeffrey Hemmeter, and Richard V. Burkhauser

This article uses a unique longitudinal dataset based on administrative data from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) linked to Social Security Administration (SSA) microdata to conduct a case study of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) children who applied for postsecondary education at NTID. The authors estimate the likelihood that SSI children who apply to NTID will eventually graduate relative to other hearing impaired applicants, as well as the influence of graduation from NTID on participation in the SSI program as adults and later success in the labor market. Findings indicate that SSI children are substantially less likely to graduate from NTID than their fellow deaf students who did not participate in the SSI program as children, but that those who do graduate spend less time in the SSI adult program and have higher age-earnings profiles than those who do not graduate.

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.

Benefit Adequacy in State Workers' Compensation Programs
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 65 No. 4 (released May 2005)
by H. Allan Hunt

This article summarizes several different methods used to measure the adequacy of wage replacement in state workers' compensation systems in the United States. Empirical research casts serious doubt on benefit adequacy, especially in the case of more serious disabilities.

[Errata: The electronic versions of this article that were originally posted contained incorrect labels on the lines in Chart 3. The labels have been updated in the electronic versions and are correct in the print publication.]

Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries and Disabled SSI Recipients: A Profile of Demographic and Program Characteristics
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 52 No. 5 (released May 1989)
by John L. McCoy and Kerry Weems
Asset Holdings of the Newly Disabled: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49 No. 12 (released December 1986)
by Martynas A. Yčas
Effect of Rehabilitation on Employment and Earnings of the Disabled: Sociodemographic Factors
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42 No. 8 (released August 1979)
by Joseph Greenblum
Expenditure Patterns of Welfare, Aged, and Disabled Households
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 37 No. 8 (released August 1974)
by Teh-wei Hu, Norman L. Knaub, and Sharif Ghalib
Income of the Disabled: Its Sources and Size
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 34 No. 8 (released August 1971)
by Idella G. Swisher
Aid to the Blind: Earned Income of Recipients, September 1950
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16 No. 1 (released January 1953)
by Sadie Saffian
Disability and Medical Care Insurance: An Excerpt From the Board's Ninth Annual Report
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 1 (released January 1945)

Minorities (Racial and ethnic)

Financial Literacy Among American Indians and Alaska Natives
Research and Statistics Note No. 2014-04 (released August 2014)
by John L. Murphy, Alicia Gourd, and Faith Begay

This study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to analyze financial literacy within the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population. The HRS is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of individuals aged 50 or older and their spouses. The study compares AIAN financial literacy scores from an 18-question financial literacy module with those from other racial groups, all of whom score higher than the AIAN sample.

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.

An Overview of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Context of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72 No. 4 (released November 2012)
by Nolan Smith-Kaprosy, Patricia P. Martin, and Kevin Whitman

The American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population is understudied in a variety of policy contexts. This article compares AIAN socioeconomic characteristics with those of the total population, focusing on patterns of adult Social Security benefit and Supplemental Security Income receipt. The analysis takes advantage of the relatively large AIAN sample size provided by the 2005–2009 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample.

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.

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.

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.

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 Distributional Consequences of a "No-Action" Scenario: Updated Results
Policy Brief No. 2005-01 (released July 2005)

Under the Social Security program, benefits are paid to retired workers, survivors, and disabled persons out of two trust funds—the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and the Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds. In their 2005 report, the Social Security Trustees projected that the combined OASDI trust funds would be exhausted in 2041. Because the trust funds are used to pay benefits, retirement benefits would have to be reduced somewhat in 2041 and more drastically in 2042.

If no action were taken to strengthen Social Security, the benefit reductions necessitated by the exhaustion of the trust funds would double the poverty rate of Social Security beneficiaries aged 64–78 in 2042, from 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent. However, this increased poverty rate would still be lower than the current poverty rate for beneficiaries aged 62–76, which is 4.6 percent. In addition, the trust funds' exhaustion could lead to lower returns on payroll taxes using traditional "money's-worth" measures.

The Distributional Consequences of a "No-Action" Scenario
Policy Brief No. 2004-01 (released February 2004)
by Andrew G. Biggs

The 2001 report of the Social Security trustees projected that the combined trust funds for the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance programs will be exhausted in 2038. This analysis explains the effects of insolvency on future retirement benefits and poverty rates of beneficiaries if no action is taken to strengthen Social Security.

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.

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.

Work Experience and Earnings of Middle-Aged Black and White Men, 1965–71
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43 No. 12 (released December 1980)
by Julian Abbott
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
Economic Status of Black Persons: Findings from Survey of Newly Entitled Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 37 No. 9 (released September 1974)
by Leonard Rubin
Spanish-Surnamed OASDI Beneficiaries in the Southwest
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 36 No. 4 (released April 1973)
by Jack Schmulowitz
Negro-White Differences In Geographic Mobility
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 30 No. 5 (released May 1967)
by Robert E. Marsh
The Aged Negro and His Income
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27 No. 2 (released February 1964)
by Mollie Orshansky
Negro Domestic Workers in Private Homes in Baltimore
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 10 (released October 1941)
by Erna Magnus

Veterans

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.

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.

Military Veterans and Social Security
Research and Statistics Note No. 2001-01 (released February 2001)
by Robert V. Gesumaria and David A. Weaver

Military veterans constitute an important subgroup of Social Security beneficiaries. Because veterans are a large subgroup of Social Security beneficiaries and because policymakers have shown a clear interest in their well-being, it is important to understand how veterans and their dependents are currently faring. This note looks at the characteristics and trends in growth of the veteran and Social Security populations.

Summary of Major 1991 Legislation Affecting Veterans and Servicemembers
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 55 No. 3 (released July 1992)
by Rita L. DiSimone
Veterans' Legislation in 91st Congress
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 34 No. 5 (released May 1971)
State Aid to Veterans
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 8, No. 2 (released February 1945)
by Franklin M. Aaronson and Hilda Rosenbloom
Present Protections and Relief for Members of the Armed Forces
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 12 (released December 1942)
by D. C. Bronson
The Effect of War Displacements on the Detroit General Assistance Program
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 11 (released November 1942)
Pensions and Compensation to Veterans and Their Dependents
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 11 (released November 1942)
by Franklin M. Aaronson

Women

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Caregiver Credits in France, Germany, and Sweden: Lessons for the United States
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71 No. 4 (released November 2011)
by John Jankowski

Analysts have long considered caregiver credits, or pension credits, provided to individuals for time spent out of the workforce caring for dependent children and sick or elderly relatives, as a way to improve the adequacy of retirement benefits for women in the United States. This article examines the experiences of France, Germany, and Sweden with caregiver credits, focusing particularly on the design, administration, and cost of these programs.

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.

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
Chile's Next Generation Pension Reform
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68 No. 2 (released October 2008)
by Barbara E. Kritzer

Since its inception in 1981, Chile's system of mandatory individual retirement accounts has become a model for pension reformers around the world. A March 2008 comprehensive pension reform law made major changes that address some key policy challenges including worker coverage, gender equity, pension adequacy, and administrative fees. The cornerstone of the new law sets up a basic universal pension as a supplement to the individual accounts system.

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
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.

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.

The Distributional Consequences of a "No-Action" Scenario: Updated Results
Policy Brief No. 2005-01 (released July 2005)

Under the Social Security program, benefits are paid to retired workers, survivors, and disabled persons out of two trust funds—the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and the Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds. In their 2005 report, the Social Security Trustees projected that the combined OASDI trust funds would be exhausted in 2041. Because the trust funds are used to pay benefits, retirement benefits would have to be reduced somewhat in 2041 and more drastically in 2042.

If no action were taken to strengthen Social Security, the benefit reductions necessitated by the exhaustion of the trust funds would double the poverty rate of Social Security beneficiaries aged 64–78 in 2042, from 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent. However, this increased poverty rate would still be lower than the current poverty rate for beneficiaries aged 62–76, which is 4.6 percent. In addition, the trust funds' exhaustion could lead to lower returns on payroll taxes using traditional "money's-worth" measures.

The Distributional Consequences of a "No-Action" Scenario
Policy Brief No. 2004-01 (released February 2004)
by Andrew G. Biggs

The 2001 report of the Social Security trustees projected that the combined trust funds for the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance programs will be exhausted in 2038. This analysis explains the effects of insolvency on future retirement benefits and poverty rates of beneficiaries if no action is taken to strengthen Social Security.

Divorced Women at Retirement: Projections of Economic Well-Being in the Near Future
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 63 No. 3 (released July 2001)
by Barbara A. Butrica and Howard M. Iams

This article describes the economic resources and economic well-being of future divorced women at retirement using data from the Social Security Administration's project on Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT). The MINT model projects that in the near term, there will be more divorced women of retirement age. Because fewer of those women are projected to meet the 10-year marriage requirement, the proportion of economically vulnerable aged women is expected to increase when the baby boom retires.

Reducing Poverty Among Elderly Women
ORES Working Paper No. 87 (released January 2001)
by Michael A. Anzick and David A. Weaver

Although the Social Security program has substantially reduced poverty among older Americans, 17.3 percent of nonmarried elderly women (widowed, divorced, or never married) are living in poverty today. This paper explores several policy options designed to reduce poverty by enhancing Social Security widow(er)'s benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits, and Social Security's special minimum benefit. Depending on the option, 40 percent to 58 percent of the additional federal spending would be directed to the poor or near poor.

Analysis of Social Security Proposals Intended to Help Women: Preliminary Results
ORES Working Paper No. 88 (released January 2001)
by Sharmila Choudhury, Michael V. Leonesio, Kelvin R. Utendorf, Linda Del Bene, and Robert V. Gesumaria

One aspect of the current debate about changing the Social Security program concerns how new rules might affect elderly women, many of whom have low income. This paper examines three possible changes: (1) a reduction in spousal benefits combined with a change in the computation of the survivor benefit, (2) a redefined minimum benefit, and (3) a 5 percent increase in benefits for persons aged 80 or older. The paper assesses the cost, distributional consequences, and antipoverty impact of each option.

Life-Cycle Aspects of Poverty Among Older Women
ORES Working Paper No. 71 (released April 1997)
by Sharmila Choudhury and Michael V. Leonesio

In this paper we focus on the relationship between a woman's economic status earlier in life and her poverty status in old age. Previous research on the determinants of poverty among aged women has documented the socioeconomic and demographic correlates of the poor and has examined the financial impact of adverse late-life events such as widowhood, deterioration of health, and loss of employment. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women, we find that most women who experience these types of adverse events in their later years do not become poor and that a large majority of older NLSMW respondents who were poor in 1991–92 were poor earlier in their adult lives. Whether women are impoverished by adverse late-life events depends on their economic resources just prior to the event. But the financial resources available in old age, in turn, depend very much on their long-term economic status throughout much of their adult lives. This article underscores the fact that for most older women these adverse events do not appear to precipitate poverty spells—at least not within the first couple of years—and directs attention at longer-term circumstances that make some women more vulnerable.

Social Security Benefits for Aged Women, December 1993
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 57 No. 2 (released April 1994)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Women's Employment and the Social Security System
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56 No. 3 (released October 1993)
by Marianne A. Ferber
Earnings of Couples: A Cohort Analysis
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56 No. 3 (released July 1993)
by Howard M. Iams
Treatment of Women in the U.S. Social Security System, 1970–88
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 56 No. 3 (released July 1993)
by Jane L. Ross and Melinda M. Upp
Retirement-Age Women and Pensions: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51 No. 12 (released December 1988)
by John R. Woods
Women Social Security Beneficiaries Aged 62 or Older, 1960–83
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48 No. 2 (released February 1985)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Women and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48 No. 2 (released February 1985)
by Virginia P. Reno
Aged Widows and OASDI: Age At and Economic Status Before and After Receipt of Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 3 (released March 1981)
by Gayle Thompson Rogers
Impact on Widows of Proposed Changes in OASI Mother's Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44 No. 2 (released February 1981)
by Susan Grad
Women Social Security Beneficiaries Aged 62 and Older, 1960–79
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43 No. 7 (released July 1980)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Changing Commitments of American Women to Work and Family Roles
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43 No. 6 (released June 1980)
by Helena Znaniecka Lopata and Kathleen Fordham Norr
Low-Income Widows and Other Aged Singles
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42 No. 12 (released December 1979)
by Thomas Tissue
Demographic and Economic Characteristics of Nonbeneficiary Widows: An Overview
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42 No. 11 (released November 1979)
by Tim Sass
Aged Women OASDI Beneficiaries: Income and Characteristics, 1971
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40 No. 4 (released April 1977)
by Gayle B. Thompson
Young Widows and Their Children: A Comparative Report
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 38 No. 5 (released May 1975)
by Lucy B. Mallan
The Position of Women in the Social Security System
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 32 No. 7 (released July 1969)
by Ella J. Polinsky
Working Mothers and Their Arrangements for Care of Their Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22 No. 8 (released August 1959)
by Henry C. Lajewski
Money Income Sources for Orphans and Young Widows, December 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20 No. 8 (released August 1957)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Money Income Sources for Young Widows and Orphans, Mid-1955
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19 No. 2 (released February 1956)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Economic Status of Widows and Paternal Orphans, June 1954
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17 No. 12 (released December 1954)
by Lenore A. Epstein
Changes in the Resources of Beneficiary Groups in St. Louis
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 10, No. 8 (released August 1947)
by Lelia M. Easson
Characteristics and Incomes of Families Assisted by Aid to Dependent Children
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 9, No. 7 (released July 1946)
Administration of the Servicemen's Dependents Allowance Act of 1942
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 7 (released July 1943)
by Harry Grossman
Gainfully Employed Women in Chicago
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 4 (released April 1943)
by Erna Magnus
Employment of Women in War Production
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 7 (released July 1942)
Negro Domestic Workers in Private Homes in Baltimore
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 10 (released October 1941)
by Erna Magnus