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Selected Research & Analysis: Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Beneficiaries, All

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Housing Expenditures of Social Security Beneficiaries, 2005–2018
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 3 (released August 2021)
by Patrick J. Purcell

This article uses data from the public-use files of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey for selected years 2005–2018 to examine the annual housing expenditures of households that include at least one person who received income from Social Security. In all years, the median percentage of income spent on housing was higher in households that included at least one Social Security beneficiary than in households with no beneficiaries. In households with at least one Social Security beneficiary, the median share of income spent on housing varied by tenure. In the period 2005–2018, the median shares rose from 31.7 percent to 32.5 percent for renter households, declined from 27.3 percent to 25.1 percent for homeowner households with a mortgage, and declined from 13.9 percent to 12.4 percent for homeowner households without a mortgage.

Changing Longevity, Social Security Retirement Benefits, and Potential Adjustments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 3 (released August 2021)
by Gayle L. Reznik, Kenneth A. Couch, Christopher R. Tamborini, and Howard M. Iams

Long-term increases in life expectancy have varied for individuals with different lifetime earnings levels. This article examines two hypothetical adjustments to Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance benefits that would offset the differential changes in projected life expectancy. The authors use the Modeling Income in the Near Term microsimulation model to analyze how the adjustments would affect benefits for beneficiaries across the lifetime earnings distribution.

Poverty Status of Social Security Beneficiaries, by Type of Benefit
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 76, No. 4 (released November 2016)
by Benjamin Bridges and Robert V. Gesumaria

This article examines the 2012 poverty status of eight Social Security adult type of benefit (TOB) groups using both the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). For each TOB group, the article compares the SPM estimate with the official poverty measure estimate. In addition, it estimates the effects of various features of the SPM on poverty rates, noting why the SPM estimates differ from official estimates. For each poverty measure, the article also compares poverty estimates across groups.

Understanding the Social Security Family Maximum
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 3 (released August 2015)
by Kathleen Romig and Dave Shoffner

Social Security's family maximum rules limit the total benefits payable to a beneficiary's family. Different family maximum rules apply to retirement and survivor benefits than to disability benefits. The rules for calculating family maximum benefits are complicated. In some particularly complex cases, it is difficult to properly implement the family maximum, which can result in over- or underpayments. This article explains how the family maximum rules work and describes their evolution. The authors use Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6 data to analyze who is affected by the family maximum and to what extent their benefits are changed.

The Sensitivity of Proposed Social Security Benefit Formula Changes to Lifetime Earnings Definitions
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 2 (released May 2012)
by Hilary Waldron

Several Social Security proposals have included benefit formula changes that apply to earners above a specified percentage of the combined male and female (unisex) lifetime earnings distribution. This study finds that if Social Security's median unisex average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) amount is used to define an earnings threshold below which benefits will be held unreduced, the percentage of fully insured men subject to benefit reductions (70 percent) will exceed the unisex estimate of the population subject to benefit reductions (50 percent) by 20 percentage points. If policymakers wish to adjust future benefits and focus benefit reductions on middle or high primary or full-time wage earners in a household, the male, rather than unisex, AIME would come closer to achieving such a goal.

This Is Not Your Parents' Retirement: Comparing Retirement Income Across Generations
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 1 (released February 2012)
by Barbara A. Butrica, Karen E. Smith, and Howard M. Iams

This article examines how retirement income at age 67 is likely to change for baby boomers and generation Xers compared with current retirees. The authors use the Modeling Income in the Near Term model to project retirement income, assets, poverty rates, and replacement rates for current and future retirees at age 67. In absolute terms, retirement incomes of future cohorts will increase over time, and poverty rates will fall. However, projected income gains are larger for high than for low socioeconomic groups, leading to increased income inequality among future retirees.

Retiring in Debt? An Update on the 2007 Near-Retiree Cohort
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 4 (released November 2010)
by Chris E. Anguelov and Christopher R. Tamborini

This research note uses 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) data to update work reported in an earlier article, "Retiring in Debt? Differences between the 1995 and 2004 Near-Retiree Cohorts." The analysis documents whether there have been changes in the debt holdings of near-retirees in 2007, a point in time reflecting the start of the recent financial and economic crisis, relative to 2004. Results show that near-retirees' debt levels in 2007 were modestly higher than in 2004, overall and across a number of subgroups. The results do not capture the full impact of the financial crisis, which manifested at the end of 2007 and in 2008.

An Empirical Study of the Effects of Social Security Reforms on Benefit Claiming Behavior and Receipt Using Public-Use Administrative Microdata
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 69, No. 3 (released October 2009)
by Hugo Benítez-Silva and Na Yin

In the past few years, the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance benefit system in the United States has undergone some of the most significant changes since its inception. Using the public-use microdata extract from the Master Beneficiary Record, we are able to uncover a number of interesting trends in benefit claiming behavior and level of benefit receipt, which can help us understand how the changes in the system are shaping the retirement benefit claiming behavior of older Americans.

Distributional Effects of Raising the Social Security Taxable Maximum
Policy Brief No. 2009-01 (released July 2009)
by Kevin Whitman

As of 2009, Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program limits the amount of annual earnings subject to taxation at $106,800, and this value generally increases annually based on changes in the national average wage index. This brief uses Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) projections to compare the distributional effects of four options for raising the maximum taxable earnings amount beyond its scheduled levels. Two of the options would raise this value so that it covers 90 percent of all covered earnings and two would remove the maximum completely. Within each set of options, the proposals are differentiated by whether the new taxable amounts are used in computing benefits. Most workers would not be affected by these proposals, but some higher earners would experience a substantial increase in taxes. Correspondingly, benefit increases are largely isolated to higher earners, although the return in benefits for taxes paid would also decline. Because the proposals are targeted toward high earners, Social Security's progressivity would increase.

A Legislative History of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 68, No. 4 (released March 2009)
by Erik Hansen

The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA), with its administrative remedies and program protections, can be seen as another incremental step in the development of a social insurance program that best meets the evolving needs of American society. This article discusses the legislative history of the SSPA in detail. It also includes summaries of the provisions and a chronology of the modification of these proposals as they passed through the House and Senate, and ultimately to the president's desk.

Women, Marriage, and Social Security Benefits Revisited
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 67, No. 4 (released May 2008)
by Christopher R. Tamborini and Kevin Whitman

This article uses a Restricted-Use File of the 2001 Marital History Topical Module to the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine women's marital histories in relation to Social Security spouse and widow benefit eligibility. To assess marital trends over time, the authors compare SIPP estimates to data reported in Iams and Ycas. 1988 article, "Women, Marriage and Social Security Benefits," which used the 1985 Marital History Supplement to the Current Population Survey. The results shed light on important links between sociodemographic trends in marriage and Social Security beneficiaries. Over three-fourths of women aged 40 to 69 in 2001 already had marital histories that guarantee them the option of a spouse or widow benefit at retirement. However, a smaller proportion of these women would be potentially eligible to receive spouse or widow benefits compared to their counterparts in 1985 due to changes in patterns in marriage, particularly among younger women in the baby-boom cohort. Notable shifts include rising proportions of currently divorced women without a 10-year marriage and never-married women.

Social Security Benefit Reporting in the Survey of Income and Program Participation and in Social Security Administrative Records
ORES Working Paper No. 96 (released June 2002)
by Janice A. Olson

The quality of Social Security benefit reporting in household surveys is important for policy research on the Social Security program and, more generally, for research on the economic well-being of the aged and disabled populations. This is particularly true for the aged among whom receipt of Social Security benefits is nearly universal and reliance on such benefits is considerable. This paper examines the consistency between Social Security benefit amounts for May 1990 as reported in the Survey of Income and Program Participation and given in the Social Security Administration's administrative records for the respondent.

Social Security Beneficiaries Enrolled in the Direct Deposit Program, December 1992
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 57, No. 1 (released January 1994)
by Joseph Bondar
Retirement-Age Couples by Type of Wife's Social Security Benefit
ORES Working Paper No. 43 (released June 1990)
by Christine Irick

This study examines the work history and economic circumstances of wives soon after receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Findings are based on a nationally representative sample of married women, aged 62 or over, who received their first benefit either as retired workers or as spouses of retired workers between mid-1980 and mid-1981.

Effects of Social Security Benefit Increase, December 1989
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 53, No. 4 (released April 1990)
by Joseph Bondar
Income Change at Retirement
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 53, No. 1 (released January 1990)
by Susan Grad
Effects of the Social Security Benefit Increase, December 1988
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 52, No. 6 (released June 1989)
by Joseph Bondar
Women, Marriage, and Social Security Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 5 (released May 1988)
by Howard M. Iams and Martynas A. Yčas
The Effect of Health on Retirement
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 50, No. 2 (released February 1987)
by Frank J. Sammartino
An Overview of OASDI Revenue, Expenditures, and Beneficiaries, 1974–85
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49, No. 6 (released June 1986)
by Christine Irick
Regional and State Patterns of Population Change and Benefit Receipt, 1980–84
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49, No. 4 (released April 1986)
Effects of the OASDI Benefit Increase, December 1985
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 49, No. 3 (released March 1986)
by Joseph Bondar
Income of New Retired Workers by Age at First Benefit Receipt: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 7 (released July 1985)
by Linda Drazga Maxfield
Assets of New Retired-Worker Beneficiaries: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 7 (released July 1985)
by Sally R. Sherman
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, December 1984
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 7 (released July 1985)
by Joseph Bondar
Relationship Between the Retirement, Disability, and Unemployment Insurance Programs: The U.S. Experience
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 5 (released May 1985)
by Virginia P. Reno and Daniel N. Price
Income of New Retired Workers by Social Security Benefit Levels: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 5 (released May 1985)
by Christine Irick
Characteristics of the Longest Job for New Retired Workers: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 3 (released March 1985)
by Howard M. Iams
Health Status of New Retired-Worker Beneficiaries: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 2 (released February 1985)
by Michael D. Packard
Distribution of Income Sources of Recent Retirees: Findings From the New Beneficiary Survey
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 48, No. 1 (released January 1985)
by Linda Drazga Maxfield and Virginia P. Reno
Income Changes At and After Social Security Benefit Receipt: Evidence From the Retirement History Study
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 9 (released September 1984)
by Alan Fox
Changing the Method for Calculating Quarters of Coverage: The Impact on Workers' Insured Status
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 4 (released April 1984)
by William J. Nelson, Jr.
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, December 1983
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 3 (released March 1984)
by Joseph Bondar
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1982
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 11 (released November 1982)
by Joseph Bondar
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1981
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 2 (released February 1982)
by Joseph Bondar
Social Security Benefits of Female Retired Workers and Two-Worker Couples
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 2 (released February 1982)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Benefits for Individual Retired Workers and Couples Now Approaching Retirement Age
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 2 (released February 1982)
by Virginia P. Reno and Anne Dee Rader
Aged Widows and OASDI: Age At and Economic Status Before and After Receipt of Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 44, No. 3 (released March 1981)
by Gayle Thompson Rogers
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1980
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 43, No. 11 (released November 1980)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1979
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 42, No. 12 (released December 1979)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1978
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 41, No. 10 (released October 1978)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1977
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 12 (released December 1977)
by Barbara A. Lingg
New Retirees and the Stability of the Retirement Decision
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 3 (released March 1977)
by Susan Grad
Effects of OASDI Benefit Increase, June 1976
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 39, No. 12 (released December 1976)
by Barbara A. Lingg
Federal Civil-Service Annuitants and Social Security
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 7 (released July 1969)
by Elizabeth M. Heidbreder
Old-Age, Survivors, Disability, and Health Insurance: Changes in the Beneficiary Population
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 4 (released April 1969)
by Janet H. Murray
Disability and Old-Age Benefits, by State, December 31, 1964
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 6 (released June 1965)
Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance: Earnings of Older Workers and Retired-Workers Beneficiaries
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 5 (released May 1965)
by Marie C. Trafton
Disability and Old-Age Benefits, by State, December 31, 1963
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 27, No. 6 (released June 1964)
Age and Sex of Persons Receiving Both OASI Benefits and OAA Payments
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 10 (released October 1963)
by Robert J. Myers
Disability and Old-Age Benefits, by State, December 31, 1962
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 26, No. 6 (released June 1963)
Old-Age Benefits in Current-Payment Status, by State, December 31, 1961
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 9 (released September 1962)
Family Benefits in Current-Payment Status, June 30, 1961
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 25, No. 2 (released February 1962)
by George I. Kowalczyk
Old-Age Benefits in Current-Payment Status, by State, February 28, 1959
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 22, No. 12 (released December 1959)
Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Beneficiaries: Survey of Their Continuing Eligibility
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 20, No. 3 (released March 1957)
Family Benefits in Current-Payment Status, June 30, 1956
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 19, No. 12 (released December 1956)
Mortality After Retirement
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 17, No. 6 (released June 1954)
by Robert J. Myers
Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Beneficiaries: Income in 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 16, No. 6 (released June 1953)
by Margaret L. Stecker
Old-Age Assistance Recipients: Reasons for Nonentitlement to Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Benefits
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 7 (released July 1952)
by Charles E. Hawkins
Old-Age Benefit Awards, 1951
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 7 (released July 1952)
OASI Beneficiaries Under Old and New Benefit Levels
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 10 (released October 1951)
Aged OASI Beneficiaries Outnumber OAA Recipients
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 8 (released August 1951)
Benefits in Current-Payment Status, State Distribution
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 14, No. 7 (released July 1951)
Old-Age and Survivors Insurance: Insured Workers and Their Representation in Claims
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 5 (released May 1944)
by George E. Immerwahr and Harry Mehlman
Economic and Social Status of Beneficiaries of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance
from Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 7 (released July 1943)
by Edna C. Wentworth