Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 62, No. 1

(released June 1999)
by Bertram Kestenbaum, Michael Shackleford, and Chris Chaplain

A major policy issue for the Social Security program is the treatment of earnings of persons who have attained retirement age. This article discusses the retirement test and recomputation of benefit provisions, and provides statistical data for 1995.

In 1995, about 806,000 persons aged 65–70 had significant earnings resulting in the withholding of benefits by the retirement test. About 1,659,000 persons aged 65 or older realized an increase in their benefit amount because of their earnings.

by Evan S. Schechter

This article uses the New Beneficiary Data System to describe the first job held after award of Disability Insurance benefits, in terms of occupation and industry. It examines work activity within sectors of employment, and looks at the issues of whether work return in certain industries and occupations varies according to the demographic characteristics of the beneficiaries. The article also presents data on sector-specific employer accommodations that can aid in sustained work return.

Postentitlement work was fairly evenly distributed across occupational and industrial sectors. Persons with higher levels of educational attainment were found to be in white-collar employment sectors. There were noticeable differences in the availability of employer accommodations across postentitlement occupations and industries.

by Lillian Liu

This article examines the U.K. retirement income security system from the American perspective. It addresses issues that most concern U.S. analysts: how the United Kingdom has kept its future public pension costs at a manageable level, the extent to which privatization of public pensions has contributed to low pensions costs, the popular appeal of individual pension accounts, and the impact of privatization on retirement income. These issues are best understood in the context of the U.K. pension program's particular institutional structure and policies, two of which—"contracting out" of public pensions, and strong reliance on means-tested benefits—have been largely rejected in the evolution of U.S. policy to date.

Particular use is made of recently available data on coverage rates for public and private pension programs over the total working population and administrative records on inactive personal pension accounts.

by Theresa M. Wilson

This report presents a comparison of benefits under the Galveston Plan versus Social Security, based on different earner and family scenarios. These scenarios include single and married workers at the low, middle, high, and very high earnings levels.