The Model of Income in the Near Term (MINT)

The Model of Income in the Near Term, or MINT, is a dynamic microsimulation model developed by the Urban Institute and others for the Division of Policy Evaluation of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to project future retirement incomes. Analysts can use the model to estimate the distributional effects of Social Security reform proposals and the long-run distributional consequences of retirement and aging issues more broadly.

The Division of Policy Evaluation has directed the development of several MINT revisions since 1997. Each version updates, enhances, and improves on earlier versions. The Urban Institute has been a primary developer for each version of MINT, including the most recent version, MINT7, completed in 2013.

MINT7 starts with a representative sample of individuals and families from the 2004 and 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation data linked to administrative earnings and benefit data. The model “ages” the data year by year, simulating demographic events including births, deaths, marriages, and divorces, and economic events including labor force participation, earnings, disability onset, and retirement. MINT simulates Social Security coverage and benefits, pension coverage, pension benefit payments, and pension assets. It also simulates home and financial assets, health status, health insurance coverage, medical spending, living arrangements, and all major sources of income. MINT includes detailed payroll and federal income tax calculators. These enable users to consider both gross and net incomes. In addition, it calculates SSI eligibility, participation, and benefits

MINT is widely used to provide distributional forecasts of changes to Social Security. For example, MINT projections were used in the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform report. Analysts from SSA’s Office of Retirement Policy provide the public with results from MINT through SSA’s web site, including analyses for prominent provisions to change Social Security. Researchers have used MINT projections to analyze numerous proposals, including proposals to change Social Security, reform private pensions, and measure poverty. For more information, see A Primer on Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 7.