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Monday, April 20, 2009

Increasing Social Security Benefits for Low-Wage Single Retirees

Patricia E. Dilley
Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Single retirees (that is, never married, divorced or widowed) are at high risk of being poor in old age. The decline in private pensions, rising out-of-pocket health costs, and declining housing values can be expected to make the already precarious financial situation of unmarried retirees even worse. Restoring Old Age Income Security to Low-Wage Single Workers proposes a change to the basic Social Security retired-worker benefit formula that would increase benefits for single retirees with at least 30 years of covered employment and low lifetime earnings. A second change would target single beneficiaries over age 85. Those who had at least 30 years of covered work, and received relatively low benefits (less than 75 percent of the average benefit), would receive a 10 percent benefit increase at age 85.

Click here to download the full policy proposal developed as part of the project, Strengthening Social Security for Vulnerable Groups.

The project was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s Campaign for American Workers.

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