An Analysis of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Knowledge about Social Security Programs and Their Consequences

Imperfect knowledge of public programs influences take-up and can lead to suboptimal decisions. This project will quantify differences in Social Security program knowledge across race and ethnic groups. We will then estimate the relationship between these knowledge differences and observed…

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Disparities in Social Security Knowledge and the Role of Social Capital

In this work, we will draw on existing surveys about Social Security knowledge to identify areas where knowledge differs across racial and ethnic groups. (We will also draw on a past MRDRC project, UM18-05, conducted by Katherine Carman.) We will…

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Mixed-methods Analysis of Consumer Fraud Reports of the Social Security Imposter Scam

Despite the growing prevalence of Social Security imposter scams, there has been no academic research on this subtype of fraud. One problem is that general sample surveys do not ask respondents about the individual subtypes of government imposter scams they…

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Mixed-methods Study to Understand Use of My Social Security

My Social Security (mySSA) is a key online resource offered by the Social Security Administration, providing users with a single access point to all SSA electronic services. While ostensibly an accessible and useful tool that can save users a significant…

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Subjective Expectations, Social Security Benefits, and Saving for Retirement

Americans reach retirement with varying degrees of preparation, with many facing shortfalls in savings. We propose to use unique survey data collected among respondents to the Understanding America Study to measure the relative roles of subjective beliefs about retirement income — particularly…

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Social Security Household Benefits: Measuring Program Knowledge

Social Security offers two types of benefits for spouses: spousal and survivor benefits. Regardless of his or her own work history, a married individual can claim spousal Social Security benefits, which are equal to half of his or her spouse’s…

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Using Consequence Messaging to Improve Understanding of Social Security

In this paper, we developed and evaluated “consequence messaging,” a behaviorally motivated communication strategy in which we used vignettes — video and written stories about hypothetical people — to explain the consequences of decisions. We studied two related areas where…

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