In light of Social Security reform proposals that include provisions for minimum benefits, this paper considers the redistributive purpose of Social Security and whether a minimum benefit may reduce need among aged and disabled people more equitably or efficiently than current law structures. We then examine several minimum benefit designs. We find that minimum benefits could help reduce poverty among the aged substantially, even in the context of benefit reductions to improve the program's long-term fiscal deficit. However, trade-offs exist; generous minimums could reduce Social Securitys earnings relationship, which has helped the program garner strong political support.
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