Low Levels of Retirement Resources in the Near-Elderly Time Period and Future Participation in Means-Tested Programs

by Alexander Strand
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 70 No. 1, 2010

Text description for Chart 5.
Absence of resource holdings of the individual and spouse and distribution of potential Social Security benefit amounts, by type of resource

Chart 5 has lines showing the percentages that lack certain kinds of resources at different levels of potential Social Security benefit amounts. There are lines for having low countable resources, no defined benefit pension, no home ownership, and all three of these conditions. At nearly all potential Social Security benefit amounts, the highest percentage is not having a defined benefit pension. The percentage having low countable resources is generally lower than this, and the percentage having no home ownership is generally lower than that. The percentage with all three of these conditions is generally lower than all the other percentages.

Text description for Chart 6.
Rate of receipt of SSI payments upon reaching age 65 for groups with the absence of three types of resource holdings in the near-elderly time period, by the potential Social Security benefit amounts of the individual and spouse and the distribution of those amounts

Chart 6 shows eventual SSI participation rates for groups with a lack of certain types of resources including low countable resources, low countable resources as well as no defined benefit pension, and these two conditions plus no home ownership. For the group with low countable resources, the participation rate starts around 20 percent at a potential Social Security benefit of zero and drops to nearly zero around a potential Social Security benefit level of around $1,000. For the group that has both low countable resources as well as no defined benefit pension, the participation rate is higher at all nonzero points. For example, at a potential Social Security benefit of zero, the participation rate is around 60 percent for this group. Adding an additional restriction of no home ownership does not raise the participation rate further. In fact, it is lower at most points of the distribution. For example, the group with all three conditions has a participation rate around 50 percent at a potential Social Security benefit of zero.