A New Minimum Benefit for Low Lifetime Earners

Research Report

A New Minimum Benefit for Low Lifetime Earners

March 24, 2009

Abstract

Despite working hard and playing by the rules over long periods, many workers end up poor in retirement. We propose an enhanced minimum benefit for Social Security that targets long-career workers with low lifetime earnings along with a modest credit that compensates workers for up to three years out of the labor market due to caregiving, unemployment, or poor health. By combining these elements, the proposal provides work incentives, yet recognizes realities facing low-wage workers, many of whom have had intermittent work careers. We show that these proposed enhancements would allow more adults to retire with a secure financial foothold.

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