Briefing Papers

Trends in Noncovered Employment and Earnings Among Employees of State and Local Governments, 1994 to 2018
No. 2021-01 (released August 2021)

From 1994–1998 to 2014–2018, the proportion of U.S. workers employed by state and local governments fell from 13.1 percent to 11.8 percent, but the number of state and local government employees rose from 16.8 million to 17.7 million. The number of state and local government employees in jobs not covered by Social Security increased from 4.2 million to 4.7 million. This increase suggests rising future Social Security Administration workloads to administer the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset.

Analysis of Benefit Estimates Shown in the Social Security Statement
No. 2020-01 (released October 2020)

The Social Security Statement is one of the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) most important ways to communicate with the public. Because a worker's complete lifetime earnings are unknown at the time his or her Statement is prepared, SSA estimates his or her future benefits by using the worker's historical earnings to project future earnings until retirement. This paper documents a study by SSA's Office of Retirement and Disability Policy of the accuracy of the current Statement estimation method, the current method's assumption that 2 years of zero earnings predict no future earnings, and the accuracy of potential alternative methods of projecting earnings and benefits. Using administrative data from the Continuous Work History Sample (CWHS), the paper finds that the Statement's current estimation method performs as well as or better than any of the other methods tested.

Trends in Social Security Disability Insurance
No. 2019-01 (released August 2019)

After a period of growth, disability incidence and prevalence rates under the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) program have been in decline. The cause of the recent decline is unclear. This paper discusses recent disability incidence and prevalence rate trends and projections, describes the factors that might drive them, and summarizes disability research that might improve our understanding of the trends.