Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 73 No. 3

(released August 2013)
by Howard M. Iams and Patrick J. Purcell

The deduction of Medicare premiums from Social Security benefit payments complicates the estimation of Social Security income in household surveys. Although the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) and Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) both aim to collect and record gross Social Security benefit income before Medicare premium deductions, comparing the survey data with Social Security records indicates that the CPS and SIPP estimates differ and suggests that some survey respondents may report net benefit income.

by Joyce Nicholas

This article looks at Supplemental Security Income (SSI) multirecipients. Using matched administrative and survey data, the author quantifies the prevalence of SSI recipients who live with other recipients (not including an SSI-eligible spouse). The author also conducts family- and household-level analyses to shed light on the social and economic characteristics of SSI multirecipients. The article reveals that SSI multirecipients represent about one-fifth of the SSI population and that their poverty rates vary according to family and household composition characteristics.

by Irena Dushi and Kalman Rupp

Using Health and Retirement Study data, the authors examine three groups of adults aged 51–56 in 1992 with different disability experiences over the following 8 years. Our analysis reveals three major findings. First, people who started and stayed nondisabled experienced stable financial security, with substantial improvement in household wealth despite substantial labor force withdrawal. Second, people who started as nondisabled but suffered a disability shock experienced a substantial increase in poverty rates and a sharp decline in median incomes. Average earnings loss was the greatest for that group, with public and private benefits replacing less than half of the loss, whereas the reduction in private health insurance coverage was more than alleviated by the increase in public health insurance coverage. Third, people who started and stayed disabled were behind at the baseline and have fallen further behind on most measures. An important exception is substantial improvement in health insurance coverage because of public safety nets.

by Irena Dushi and Howard M. Iams

This article presents descriptive statistics on pension participation and the types of plans among married couples, using data from the 1996 and 2008 Panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation and Social Security administrative records. The findings indicate that in only 20 percent of couples, neither of the spouses participated in a pension plan; in about 10 percent of couples, the wife was the only one participating in a retirement plan; and in 37 percent of couples, the husband was the only one participating. Despite the substantial changes in pension landscape over the past decade, the findings reveal only modest changes in participation rates and in the types of plans respondents participated in between 1998 and 2009.

by Laura King and Aneer Rukh-Kamaa

This article evaluates the effects of a Social Security Administration policy change for youths with disabilities making the transition out of foster care at age 18. The change allows those youths to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments 60 days earlier than the previous policy allowed, to provide additional time for processing the SSI claim before the applicant ages out of the foster care system. The authors examine administrative records on SSI application from before and after the policy change to determine if the change has decreased the gap between foster care benefits and SSI payments for the target population.