Brief First Things First: How Social Security Reform Can Eliminate Elderly Poverty
C. Eugene Steuerle, Karen E. Smith
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In this brief, we examine how Social Security proposals could eliminate poverty and relative poverty (defined as having low income relative to average wages in the economy) for older adults and people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. We add a basic minimum benefit to three prominent Social Security proposals that as currently designed would increase or maintain relative poverty over time.  The additional cost is moderate enough that any of these proposals could be adjusted to virtually eliminate poverty and still provide significantly higher real benefits across the board for future generations of retirees and disabled workers.

Research Areas Wealth and financial well-being Aging and retirement Social safety net Race and equity Taxes and budgets Disability equity policy
Tags Social Security Economic well-being Poverty Racial and ethnic disparities Pensions Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Retirement Wealth inequality Disability Insurance Federal budget and economy Inequality and mobility Retirement policy Racial barriers to accessing the safety net Hunger and food assistance Federal tax issues and reform proposals
Policy Centers Income and Benefits Policy Center