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NASI Announces Winners of Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Awards to Strengthen Social Security for Vulnerable Groups

Project is Part of Rockefeller Foundation’s Campaign for American Workers

For release: July 23, 2008
Contact: Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

Twelve Policy Scholars Awarded Up to $30,000 Each

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) announced today the winners of 12 Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Awards to Strengthen Social Security for Vulnerable Groups. The project aims to generate Social Security policy options for the benefit of groups of the population such as low-paid workers, elderly widows, disabled workers, those over eighty years of age and others.

“Social Security provides essential disability and life insurance for working families and is the bedrock of financial security in retirement, yet benefits are modest. The policy scholars who are receiving these monies will identify ways to strengthen economic security for American workers by improving Social Security for vulnerable groups,” said Virginia Reno, NASI’s Vice President for Income Security and Project Director.

An advisory committee of NASI experts selected the twelve policy scholars after thorough review of a large number of excellent proposals. The winning policy scholars are from varied disciplines such as political science, law, actuarial science, sociology, social work, and economics. Their final papers will identify specific ways to improve Social Security for range of vulnerable groups. A list of policy scholars is below.

NASI will convene the Policy Scholars to discuss and refine their proposals in the Fall. The final papers will be available on NASI’s website and a synthesis of the findings will be made available to policy makers, congressional staff, executive branch transition teams, and other stakeholder communities.

The project receives financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Campaign for American Workers Initiative. The $70 million Foundation initiative supports the development of new rules and new tools for the 21st century economy through innovative products and policies to increase economic security within the U.S. workforce, particularly among poor and vulnerable workers. According to a Rockefeller Foundation/TIME magazine Campaign for American Workers poll that was published last week, an overwhelming 7 in 10 Americans felt they were not saving enough for retirement.

“In the 1930s, the Rockefeller Foundation played a key role in conducting the research that informed Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration on social insurance policy,” said Darren Walker, vice president of Foundation Initiatives for the Rockefeller Foundation. “Today, we’re proud to support NASI in their effort to develop a new generation of innovations that provide social security in the 21st century. Given the recent down-turn in the economy, it is even more critical that we find solutions that provide security for America’s workers now.”

Strengthening Social Security for Vulnerable Groups Policy Scholars and their Proposals

How Reducing the Work Requirement for Social Security Retirement Benefit Eligibility Would Impact Lifetime Low Wage Earners, by Andrew Biggs, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC.

Restoring Old Age Income Security for Low Wage Workers, by Patricia Dilley, Levin College of Law, University of Florida, Gainesville.

A New Minimum Benefit for Low Lifetime Earners, by Melissa Favreault, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC.

Innovative Policies to Strengthen Social Security for Low-Wage Workers, by Tatjana Meschede with Thomas Shapiro and Laura Sullivan, Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.

Crediting Care in Social Security: A Proposal for an Income Tested Care Credit, by Pamela Herd, La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Retirement Security for Family Elder Caregivers with Labor Force Employment, by Shelley White-Means, University of Tennessee, and Rose Rubin, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.

Proposal to Strengthen Social Security Benefits for Widows, by Joan Entmacher and Chad Newcomb, National Women’s Law Center, Washington, DC.

Innovative Policies to Improve Social Security Disability Programs for Adults Experiencing Long Term Homelessness, by Deborah Dennis and Yvonne Perrett, Policy Research Associates, Delmar, NY and Cumberland, MD.

Strengthening Social Security for Workers in Physically Demanding Occupations, by Eric Klieber, Buck Consultants, Cleveland, OH.

Evaluating the Legal and Policy Implications of Judicial, Legislative, and Administrative Protections for Exempt Social Security Benefits and Related Funds Held in Bank Accounts, by John Infranca, New York, NY.

Strengthening Social Security for Farm Workers: The Fragile Retirement Prospects for Hispanic Farm Worker Families, by Barbara Robles, School of Social Work, Arizona State University, Phoenix.

Longevity Insurance: Strengthening Social Security for the Old-Old, by John Turner, Pension Policy Consultant, Washington, DC.

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