Share/Bookmark

Innovative Policies to Strengthen Social Security For Vulnerable Populations

Published: July 2008
In May 2008, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) launched the Social Security Innovative Policy Program to generate innovative policy analyses of options to strengthen Social Security for vulnerable populations. The Rockefeller Foundation funds the Social Security Innovative Policy Program.

The project will 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. Advisory committee members are listed below. 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 authors and the advisory committee to discuss and refine the 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.


Social Security Innovative Policy Program Advisory Committee Members

Lily Batchelder is Assistant Professor of Law and Public Policy at the New York University School of Law.

Barbara Bovbjerg is Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Paul Davies is the Director of the Division of Policy Evaluation (DPE) in the Social Security Administration's Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics.

Lawrence Johnston is Senior Counsel at the Office of the Legislative Counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives

Eric Kingson is Professor of Social Work and Public Administration at Syracuse University.

Alice Wade is Deputy Chief Actuary for Long-Range Estimates in the Social Security Administration.

Debra Bailey Whitman is the Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.


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 Yvonne Perret, Policy Research Associates, Delmar, NY and Cumberland, MD and Deborah Dennis.

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.