• Social Security Bulletin

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  • Incentivizing Delayed Claiming of Social Security Retirement Benefits Before Reaching the Full Retirement Age

    Claiming Social Security retirement benefits before the full retirement age (FRA) results in permanently lower benefits, while delaying claiming permanently increases benefits. This article uses Modeling Income in the Near Term data to determine the socioeconomic characteristics of individuals who claim at various ages. The authors then describe a number of novel approaches aimed at encouraging individuals to delay claiming in the months and years before reaching their FRA. Lastly, the authors model one of those approaches to examine how a 1-year delay in claiming affects benefits and poverty in the future

  • How Effective Is the Social Security Statement? Informing Younger Workers about Social Security

    The Social Security Administration began mailing annual earnings and benefit statements to workers aged 60 or older in 1995, and increased its mailings to include workers in younger age groups in succeeding years. In 1998, the agency commissioned the Gallup Organization to evaluate the effects of these statements on the public’s knowledge of Social Security programs and benefits. This article briefly describes the development and implementation of the Social Security Statement; discusses the Gallup surveys conducted in 1998 and 2001; and uses data from those surveys to compare, for workers aged 46 or younger, knowledge about Social Security before and after receipt of the Social Security Statement

  • Improving Access to Benefits for Persons with Disabilities Who Were Experiencing Homelessness: An Evaluation of the Benefits Entitlement Services Team Demonstration Project

    This study uses administrative data to evaluate the outcomes of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance (DI) applications submitted through the Benefits Entitlement Services Team (B.E.S.T) project, an initiative funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to help individuals experiencing homelessness apply for SSI payments and/or DI benefits. The authors discuss the allowance rates and processing times for B.E.S.T applications, the combination of internal and external methods that supported the B.E.S.T application process, and the characteristics of B.E.S.T applications that increased the likelihood of an allowance

  • The Social Security Statement: Background, Implementation, and Recent Developments

    In 1995, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing annual earnings and benefit statements to workers aged 60 or older. By 2000, SSA was sending these statements to all workers aged 25 or older. It was the largest customized mailing ever undertaken by a federal agency. This article describes the development and implementation of the Social Security Statement; the changes in its distribution, content, and appearance over time; its relationship to SSA’s strategic plans; and the surveys SSA commissioned to measure public awareness and knowledge of Social Security

  • Recruitment in the Mental Health Treatment Study: A Behavioral Health/Employment Intervention for Social Security Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries

    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

    Using data from Social Security Administration (SSA) program records, this article evaluates employment and SSA disability program payment outcomes for youths participating in SSA’s Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) project. Participants were randomly assigned to treatment or control groups at each of six project sites. Treatment-group youths in the YTD received extra employment-related and other supports in order to improve educational and vocational outcomes during their transition to adulthood. The YTD had a positive impact on the proportion of youths with earnings in the first and second years after random assignment at three sites, with two of those sites having positive impacts in both years. Additionally, the treatment groups in four sites had higher Supplemental Security Income participation rates 24 months after random assignment.

  • Immigrants and Retirement Resources

    The extensive literature documenting differences in wages between immigrant and native-born workers suggests that immigrants may enter retirement at a significant financial disadvantage relative to workers born in the United States. However, little work has examined differences in retirement resources and retirement security between immigrants and natives. In this article, we use data from the Health and Retirement Study linked with restricted data from the Social Security Administration to compare retirement resources of immigrants and natives. Our results suggest that while immigrants have lower levels of Social Security benefits than natives, when holding demographic characteristics constant, immigrants have higher levels of net worth. The estimated immigrant differentials vary a great deal by number of years in the United States, with the most recent immigrants being the least prepared for retirement.

  • The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and the Aged: How and Why the SPM and Official Poverty Estimates Differ

    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.

  • OASDI and SSI Program Rates and Limits, 2014
  • How Do Trends in Women's Labor Force Activity and Marriage Patterns Affect Social Security Replacement Rates?

    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

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