Brief How Progressive Is Social Security When Old Age and Disability Insurance Are Treated as a Whole?
C. Eugene Steuerle, Adam Carasso, Lee Cohen
Display Date
Download Report
(60.02 KB)

This brief, building on the discussion of progressivity in Straight Talk 37, shows how including Disability Insurance (DI) restores very modest levels of progressivity to the Social Security system as a whole. That is, some lower lifetime earnings groups that fall victim to regressive trends under the Old-Age Survivors' Insurance program find their situation considerably improved or reversed when DI is added to the mix, in the form of higher internal rates of return on the benefits they receive over a lifetime. Generally, we find that black men, those earning in the bottom quintile, and those dropping out of high school have a greater chance of receiving DI than other groups.

Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Health and health care Aging and retirement Race and equity Taxes and budgets
Tags Social Security Disability and long-term care Racial and ethnic disparities Individual taxes Federal budget and economy Race, gender, class, and ethnicity Men and boys Income and wealth distribution Retirement policy Racial inequities in economic mobility Racial inequities in health Racial wealth gap Disability equity policy