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Social Security

Monday, March 11, 2013

Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment: What Do Americans Want?

Jasmine V. Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

The purpose of Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is to automatically adjust benefits to keep up with rising prices. Experts have long disagreed about how the COLA should be calculated and the rate at which it should grow to fully protect beneficiaries against loss of purchasing power due to inflation.

Some experts say the current COLA does not keep up with the inflation that seniors face because seniors spend more on out-of-pocket health care costs, which generally rise faster than average inflation. Other experts say that the current COLA actually overstates inflation because it does not sufficiently factor in substitution between different categories of goods. A recent survey that asked Americans whether they favor or oppose 14 different policy changes finds that Americans would prefer to increase, rather than reduce, Social Security’s COLA (see table below).

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Posted on March 11, 2013  |  6 comments  |  Add your comment
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks: Key Programs Keep 26 Million Out of Poverty

Jasmine V. Tucker, National Academy of Social Insurance

This Thanksgiving, Americans across the country can be thankful for four critical programs that helped keep nearly 26 million people out of poverty in 2011, including three social insurance programs: Social Security, unemployment insurance (UI), and workers' compensation, and a related program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quick Facts on Social Security’s 1.7% COLA for 2012

Elisa Walker, National Academy of Social Insurance

This morning the Social Security Administration announced that beneficiaries will see a 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in their January 2013 checks. Social Security benefits are automatically adjusted to keep up with the cost of living.

Key points from the release:

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Posted on October 16, 2012  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Social Security Debate and American Democracy

Eloy Fisher

Social Security is not in crisis, as Ken Buffin reminded us in his presentation at NASI's 24th annual policy research conference on January 26 in Washington, DC. For the next 25 years, Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) trust funds are 100% solvent, and beyond that window, 90% solvent for two more decades.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Social Security Privatization: What the Candidates Can Learn from Central Europe and Latin America

Elaine Fultz, Former director of the International Labor Organization office for Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia*

In recent weeks, all but one of the Republican Presidential candidates (Jon Huntsman) have made comments favoring privatization of social security, that is, its replacement or partial replacement with privately managed individual investment accounts.  This was the approach advocated by President George W. Bush, unsuccessfully, after his reelection in 2004. The candidates’ renewed interest in social security privatization is striking given the recent volatility of financial markets and the losses that Americans have incurred in their 401(k) and other private investment accounts.  It is perhaps even more striking given the large body of analysis showing that privatization would disadvantage low- income workers while benefitting the wealthiest Americans. This was, for example, a key finding of the U.S.

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Posted on October 20, 2011  |  1 comment  |  Add your comment