Revitalizing Social Security: Effectively Targeting Benefit Enhancements for Low Lifetime Earners and the Oldest Old

Testimony

Revitalizing Social Security: Effectively Targeting Benefit Enhancements for Low Lifetime Earners and the Oldest Old

June 30, 2009

I argue that Social Security benefits for long-term, low-wage workers are modest and need to be increased. There are many ways to bolster benefits for low-income retirees, each with strengths and weaknesses, so technical details of each proposal will determine its effectiveness. Any Social Security reform package will include multiple provisions that interact with one another. Certain provisions to help low-earners may be more or less desirable depending on a package's other components. Finally, some low-income older and disabled Americans are beyond Social Security's reach. To help them, Congress should consider expanding the Supplemental Security Income program.

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Cross-Center Initiative

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