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Retirement Security Initiative

To help improve the retirement security of Americans, the Office of Retirement Policy produces, plans, and coordinates a body of research products that will help inform the public about retirement planning, including when to begin receiving Social Security benefits.

Our products focus on different retirement topics, based on the age and circumstances of the target audience. Below is some of the information the Social Security Administration has created to help workers plan for retirement.

Retirement Security Information for Workers

Externally Funded Research

Understanding America Study

The Understanding America Study (UAS) is a nationally representative Internet panel of over 6,000 respondents aged 18 and older. The University of Southern California's Center for Economic and Social Research administers the UAS, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the National Institute of Aging (NIA) fund the study through a cooperative agreement. The UAS includes over 50 surveys on retirement planning, economic well-being, and psychological constructs, as well as most modules of the Health and Retirement Study.

Examples of research conducted using the UAS, include:

Roybal Center for Health Decision Making and Financial Independence in Old Age

Congress created the Roybal Centers Program in 1992 to help translate social and behavioral research into practical applications for improving the health and well-being of older Americans. NIA currently maintains 13 Roybal Centers, and SSA and NIA jointly fund the “Roybal Center for Health Decision Making and Financial Independence in Old Age,” at the University of Southern California Center for Economic and Social Research.

An example of research conducted by the Roybal Center, includes:

Minorities and Retirement Security Program

The Minorities and Retirement Security (MRS) Program is a discretionary grant program jointly administered by SSA and the Department of Education to increase the retirement security and financial literacy research capacity and output at Hispanic and Black Serving Institutions (HBSIs). The MRS Program provides grants to support research by graduate students and faculty mentors at HBSIs in the areas of retirement security, financial literacy, and financial decision-making within minority and low-income communities. The current five-year cooperative agreement runs from FY2014 through FY2018. For further information about the MRS Program, please visit the websites of the respective institutions:

Intergovernmental Personnel Act

The Office of Retirement Policy also works with researchers under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) program. Researchers employed for at least 90 days in a career position at a state or local government agency, nonprofit organization, or university are eligible for temporary assignment to SSA under the IPA program. SSA negotiates an agreement with the individual's employer for salary and fringe benefits.

Examples of research conducted under the IPA program, include: