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Social Security Bulletin

Laura King, Aneer Rukh-Kamaa
Youths with disabilities face numerous challenges when they transition to adulthood. Those who are aging out of foster care face the additional challenge of losing their foster care benefits, although some will be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments after foster care ceases. However, the time needed to process SSI applications exposes those youths to a potential gap in the receipt of benefits as they move between foster care and SSI. We evaluate the effects of a 2010 Social Security Administration policy change that allows such youths to apply for SSI payments 60 days earlier than the previous policy allowed...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Irena Dushi, Howard M Iams
We present descriptive statistics on pension participation and types of pensions among married couples, using data from the 1996/2008 Panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and Social Security administrative records. Previous research has focused on pension coverage by marital status, but has not examined couples as a unit. Because couples usually share income, viewing them as a unit provides a better picture of potential access to income from retirement plans. Our analysis compares 1998 and 2009 data because substantial changes occurred in the pension landscape over this decade that could have influenced the prevalence of different pension plans, although we observe modest changes in participation rates and types of plans over the period...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Irena Dushi, Kalman Rupp
Using Health and Retirement Study data, we examine three groups of adults aged 51-56 in 1992 with different disability experiences over 8 years. Our analysis reveals three major findings. First, people who started and stayed nondisabled experienced stable financial security, with improvement in household wealth despite labor force withdrawal. Second, the newly disabled--people who started as nondisabled but suffered a disability shock--experienced increased poverty rates and decreased median incomes. Average earnings loss was the greatest for them, with public and private benefits replacing less than half of the loss, whereas increased public health insurance coverage alleviated reduced private health insurance coverage...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Joyce Nicholas
"Multirecipients" are people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments while living with other recipients (not including an SSI-eligible spouse). Using Social Security Administration records matched to Current Population Survey data for 2005, this article examines multirecipients' personal, family, household, and economic characteristics. I find that no more than 20 percent of the 2005 SSI population were multirecipients. Most multirecipients were adults, lived with one other recipient, and/or shared their homes with related recipients...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Howard M Iams, Patrick J Purcell
As a major source of income for retired persons in the United States, Social Security benefits directly influence economic well-being. That fact underscores the importance of measuring Social Security income accurately in household surveys. Using Social Security Administration (SSA) records, we examine Social Security income as reported in two Census Bureau surveys, the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the Current Population Survey (CPS). Although SSA usually deducts Medicare premiums from benefit payments, both the CPS and the SIPP aim to collect and record gross Social Security benefit amounts (before Medicare premium deductions)...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Irena Dushi, Howard M Iams, Christopher R Tamborini
We investigate changes in workers' participation and contributions to defined contribution (DC) plans during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Using longitudinal information from W-2 tax records matched to a nationally representative sample of respondents from the Survey ofl Income and Program Participation, we find that the recent economic downturn had a considerable impact on workers' participation and contributions to DC plans. Thirty-nine percent of 2007 participants decreased contributions to DC plans by more than 10 percent during the Great Recession...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Howard M Iams, Patrick J Purcell
In recent decades, employers have increasingly replaced defined benefit (DB) pensions with defined contribution (DC) retirement accounts for their employees. DB plans provide annuities, or lifetime benefits paid at regular intervals. The timing and amounts of DC distributions, however, may vary widely. Most surveys that provide data on the family income of the aged either collect no data on nonannuity retirement account distributions, or exclude such distributions from their summary measures of family income...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Javier Meseguer
Based on the adjudicative process, the author classifies claimant-level data over an 8-year period (1997-2004) into four mutually exclusive categories: (1) initial allowances, (2) initial denials not appealed, (3) final allowances, and (4) final denials. The ability to predict those outcomes is explored within a multilevel modeling framework, with applicants clustered by state and primary diagnosis code. Variance decomposition suggests that medical diagnoses play a substantial role in explaining individual-level variation in initial allowances...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Jeffrey Hemmeter, Michelle Stegman
The Social Security Administration (SSA) periodically reviews the disabilities of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries to determine if their impairments still meet the requirements for program eligibility. For individuals whose eligibility was ceased after a full medical review from 2003 to 2008, we track subsequent program participation for up to 8 years. We use survival analyses to estimate the time untilfirst return to SSI and DI and explore the differences in returns by various personal and programmatic characteristics such as age, disability type, time on program, and SSA expectations regarding medical improvement...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Gary Burtless, Sveta Milusheva
The increasing cost of employer contributions for employee health insurance reduces the share of compensation subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Rising insurance contributions can also have a more subtle effect on the Social Security tax base because they influence the distribution of money wages above and below the taxable maximum amount. This article uses the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to analyze trends in employer health insurance contributions and the distribution of those costs up and down the wage distribution...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
John L Murphy
This study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to analyze the psychological and social variables associated with financial literacy. The HRS is a nationally representative longitudinal survey of individuals older than age 50 and their spouses. An ordinary least squares linear regression analysis explores the relationship between financial literacy and several economic and psychosocial variables. After controlling for earnings, level of education, and other socioeconomic variables in this exploratory study, I find that financial satisfaction and religiosity are correlated with financial literacy...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Christa Bucks Camacho, Jeffrey Hemmeter
Many youths with disabilities, especially those receiving or potentially eligible for Social Security benefits, need assistance as they transition into adulthood. Upon completing secondary school, they face an abrupt end to provider-initiated public entitlement services. They often lack the knowledge and support to access and link fragmented adult support services. 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...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Anya Olsen, Kathleen Romig
The retirement earnings test (RET) is an often-misunderstood aspect of the Social Security program. Proposed RET reforms meant to encourage working at older ages 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. We find that beneficiaries affected by RET repeal would generally receive significantly higher benefits when they are younger than the full retirement age (FRA), and somewhat lower benefits after reaching FRA...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Hilary Waldron
To evaluate the distributional effects of some proposed Social Security law changes, such as an increase in Social Security's early entitlement age, retirement policy analysts typically tabulate the number of workers who fall below a predetermined threshold of hardship. Analysts using this technique often implicitly assume that the insured population falls neatly into a low-earnings poor health group and a remaining good health group. If the hardship threshold assumption is correct, there should be no difference in mortality risk between lifetime earnings deciles above a hardship threshold...
2013: Social Security Bulletin
Alan L Gustman, Thomas L Steinmeier, 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 those approaching retirement age as the recession began, a potentially vulnerable population. The retirement wealth of people aged 53-58 in 2006 declined by a relatively modest 2.8 percent by 2010. Relative losses were greatest among those with the highest wealth when the recession began. Most of the loss in wealth is due to a declining net value of housing, but several factors may provide this cohort with time to recover its housing losses...
2012: Social Security Bulletin
Anya Olsen
Policymakers have proposed increases to the early eligibility age (EEA) and/or full retirement age (FRA) to address increasing life expectancy and Social Security solvency issues. This analysis uses the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term, version 6 (MINT6) model to compare three retirement-age increases suggested by the Social Security Advisory Board: increase the gap between the EEA and FRA by raising only the FRA, increase both the EEA and FRA to maintain a 4-year gap between them, and increase both the EEA and FRA to maintain a 5-year gap between them...
2012: Social Security Bulletin
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. In this article, using individual-level data on applications, I estimate 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...
2012: Social Security Bulletin
Nolan Smith-Kaprosy, Patricia P Martin, Kevin Whitman
This article examines the economic security of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population by exploring AIAN receipt of Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This analysis uses data from the 2005-2009 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample, which provides a larger AIAN sample size than many other sources, thereby enabling more reliable estimates. We find that adult AIANs are less likely to receive Social Security benefits and more likely to receive SSI than are adults in the total population...
2012: Social Security Bulletin
Xuguang Guo, John F Burton
We investigate the determinants of application for Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) benefits in approximately 45 jurisdictions between 1981 and 1999. We reproduce findings of previous studies of the determinants of DI application then test the additional influence of changes to workers' compensation program benefits and rules on DI application rates. Our findings indicate that the programs are interrelated: When workers' compensation benefits declined and eligibility rules tightened in the 1990s, the DI application rate increased...
2012: Social Security Bulletin
Chris E Anguelov, Howard M Iams, Patrick J Purcell
Traditional defined benefit pensions, once a major source of retirement income, are increasingly giving way to tax-qualified defined contribution (DC) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). This trend is likely to continue among future retirees who have worked in the private sector. This article discusses the implications of those trends for the measurement of retirement income. We conclude that Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS), one of the primary sources of income data, greatly underreports distributions from DC plans and IRAs, posing an increasing problem for measuring retirement income in the future...
2012: Social Security Bulletin
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