Winter 2020 Newsletter: Panel offers a tune up for SSA trustees’ report

Every year the Social Security Administration’s Board of Trustees and the Office of the Chief Actuary (OCACT) produce a report on the health of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI) trust funds. OCACT’s projections rest on…

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Winter 2020 newsletter: Director’s corner

John Laitner The Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 80, No. 1 (February 2020), was devoted to review articles on activities over the fiscal years 2008 to 2017 of the three retirement and two disability research centers sponsored by the Social Security…

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Setting Expectations for Claimant Ability to Work: Investigating the Occupational Requirements and Functional Capacity of Workers with Early Onset Health Conditions

When determining a claimant’s eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses whether his/her health condition (e.g., back/spine problems) sufficiently impairs his/her functional capacity (e.g., ability to lift/carry weight) so that the he/she is…

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Estimating the Effects of the Totalization Agreements

This paper quantifies the effects of the totalization agreements that coordinate the United States Social Security program with the comparable programs of other countries. For each treated country that has signed an agreement with the U.S., we construct a synthetic…

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How Would 401(k) ‘Rothification’ Alter Saving, Retirement Security, and Inequality?

The U.S. has long incentivized retirement saving in 401(k) and similar retirement accounts by permitting workers to defer taxes on contributions, levying them instead when retirees withdraw funds in retirement. This paper develops a dynamic life-cycle model to show how…

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Social Security Coverage around the World: The Case of China and Mexico

We describe the current state and recent trends in the landscape of social security programs in China, Mexico, and India. A common thread across these countries is the introduction and recent expansion of old-age pension programs with noncontributory components. We…

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Investigating the Difference in Mortality Estimates between the Social Security Administration Trustees’ Report and the Human Mortality Database

This study’s goal was to determine whether differences in data or differences in methods explain the divergence between the mortality estimates at ages 65 and older of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Human Mortality Database (HMD). These differences,…

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Understanding Retirement Plan Default Behavior: The Case of OregonSaves

Insuring retirement security is an important challenge for our aging society. Accordingly, policymakers are interested in a range of policies to help individuals save more for retirement on their own. One reform currently being tested is for specific states to…

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