Workers with Low Social Security Benefits: Implications for Reform

Workers with Low Social Security Benefits: Implications for Reform

July 26, 2010

Low Social Security benefits are strongly related to individual characteristics and earnings histories. These associations suggest ways of shoring up Social Security and adopting other policies to help low-wage, low-skilled workers achieve more labor market success and greater retirement security. Social Security enhancements to aid beneficiaries with intermittent histories include caregiver credits or a minimum benefit that integrates caregiving, unemployment, and disability credits. To meet long-term, low-wage workers' needs, policymakers could adjust Social Security's bend points or replacement percentages; create a new minimum benefit; or adjust current law's special minimum benefit so it provides support greater than the poverty level.

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