Over the past two months, it has become clear that, like many other crises to hit the United States in recent decades – Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey, and Maria and the floods and droughts that have wiped out farms across the Midwest and California – the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately hurting those with the fewest resources to cope. The second Virtual Roundtable in the Academy’s Responding to COVID-19 series highlighted these realities.
Interdisciplinary Study Panel on Economic Security launches at the National Academy of Social Insurance
The National Academy of Social Insurance has launched a new Study Panel on Economic Security, with thirty experts (see list below) from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds, to produce a comprehensive report on income supports and related policies within our nation’s range of economic security programs. The nation’s social insurance infrastructure effectively serves millions of Americans, but rising inequality and demographic changes are among a number of factors exposing gaps in programs initially established during the Great Depression.
In describing the “Need for Security”, the 1935 Committee on Economic Security wrote that “the one almost all-embracing measure of security is an assured income. A program of economic security, as we vision it, must have as its primary aim the assurance of an adequate income to each human being in childhood, youth, middle age, or old age—in sickness or in health.” Although almost eighty-five years have passed since the Committee’s report, its “primary aim” remains unfulfilled.
Presented made by William J. Arnone at the summer 2017 meetings of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Philadelphia, PA, August 8, 2017.
Our nation’s social insurance infrastructure forms the foundation of economic and health security for American workers and their families. Like all infrastructure, it must be periodically strengthened and modernized if it is to continue to meet the needs of a changing economy and society. This Report presents the new Administration and Congress with a range of evidence-based policy options, developed by the nation’s top social insurance experts, for doing so.
The first part of the Report takes stock of the policy challenges facing existing social insurance programs: Social Security, the major health insurance programs, and Unemployment Insurance. The second part discusses potential new directions for social insurance in coping with emerging needs in the areas of long-term services and supports, caregiving supports, and nonstandard work.
SUMMARY: Racial and ethnic gaps in wealth are substantial and persistent. The wealth of a the typical white household in 2013 was 13 times that of the typical black household and 10 times that of the typical Hispanic household. Social Security is a crucial component of most Americans’ financial security in retirement and makes up the vast majority of retirement wealth for most households of color. The gap in Social Security wealth between white households and households of color is substantially less than the gap in holdings of pension and IRA wealth. As a result, Social Security has a unique advantage to reduce the gap in retirement wealth for households of color. It provides universal coverage, requires mandatory contributions, and provides greater assets to those who need them most. A range of Social Security reform options are available to further reduce the gap in retirement wealth. Download the brief.
How Would Seniors Fare – by Age, Gender, Race and Ethnicity, and Income – Under the Bowles-Simpson Social Security Proposals by 2070?
SUMMARY: Micro-simulation of future benefits shows how recommendations by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of the deficit commission appointed by President Obama, would lower Social Security benefits for almost all (92 percent) of seniors entitled to benefits in 2070. The cuts would affect all age and income groups: 88 percent of young elders (ages 62-69) and 97 percent of the oldest (ages 90 and older) are projected to receive lower benefits, as are 81 percent of seniors in the lowest household income quintile, 93 percent of the middle quintile, and 97 percent of the top quintile. Major benefit reductions – of 20 percent or more below the benefits scheduled in current law – are projected to befall about one in three women and one in two men. Slightly more than one in four black and Hispanic elders would experience cuts of 20 percent or more, as would half of all white elders and nearly half (45 percent) of middle income elders.
With support from the Ford Foundation, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) awarded funds to projects designed to educate Americans most reliant on Social Security about its role in their economic security. The purpose of the project is to support constituency building, education outside of Washington, and the development of user-friendly, research-based information on the adequacy of Social Security benefits and how these could be strengthened for vulnerable groups, including communities of color, women, people with disabilities, low-wage workers and children. In light of rising out-of-pocket medical costs, declining asset values and job losses, it is more important than ever that groups most reliant on Social Security have their voices heard in policy debates about its future.
The following infographic details some of the results of the project as it concluded in August 2012:
This report summarizes the proceedings of a national roundtable on “Strengthening Unemployment Insurance for the 21st Century,” convened by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) in Washington, DC, on July 13, 2010. The roundtable was prompted by the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Social Security Act, which established Unemployment Insurance (UI) as a state-federal program in 1935, and by the Great Recession, which has placed unusual demands and stress on the UI program.
The roundtable brought together about 70 government officials, legislative staff, researchers from think tanks and academia, representatives of employers and workers, and other interested parties. The day was organized into six panels, each on a specific aspect of the UI program, plus a final session during which attendees suggested UI program reforms.
Summary: Social Security is best known as the foundation of retirement security for older Americans. Equally important is the economic security it provides to families that lose a breadwinner’s support because of death or disability. Social Security provides benefits directly to about 3 million dependents under age 18 (or under age 19 if still in high school) who have lost parental support because of death, disability, or retirement. Between 1965 and 1983, the benefit continued until age 22 for young adult children who were enrolled in post-secondary education. This brief examines the case for reinstating Social Securitystudent benefits until age 22 for children of deceased and disabled workers. It finds: