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Archive for the ‘Social Security’ Category

New From the GAO

September 9, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Veterans Affairs: Data Needed to Help Improve Decisions Concerning Veterans’ Access to Burial Options. GAO-14-537, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-537
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665664.pdf

2. Export-Import Bank: Enhancements Needed in Loan Guarantee Underwriting Procedures and for Documenting Fraud Processes. GAO-14-574, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-574
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665620.pdf

3. Contract Management: DOD’s Implementation of Justifications for 8(a) Sole-Source Contracts. GAO-14-721R, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-721R

4. Clinical Trials: Little is Known about Participation by Supplemental Security Income Recipients. GAO-14-734R, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-734R

5. Military Personnel: DOD Needs to Update General and Flag Officer Requirements and Improve Availability of Associated Costs. GAO-14-745, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-745
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665652.pdf

6. Bureau of Reclamation: Availability of Information on Repayment of Water Project Construction Costs Could Be Better Promoted. GAO-14-764. September 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-764
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665589.pdf

7. Military Personnel: DOD Needs to Take Further Actions to Prevent Sexual Assault during Initial Military Training. GAO-14-806, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-806
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665631.pdf

Testimony

1. Department Of Homeland Security: Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of Research and Development, by David C. Maurer, director, homeland security and justice, before the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, House Committee on Homeland Security, and the Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-14-865T, September 9.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-865T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665618.pdf

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How do people with disabilities cope while waiting for disability insurance benefits?

September 8, 2014 Comments off

How do people with disabilities cope while waiting for disability insurance benefits? (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor (Journal)

Disability Insurance waiting time varies from a few months to several years. We estimate the causal effect of longer waiting times on the use of five financial coping strategies. We find that SNAP benefits are the most responsive to longer waiting times. Moreover, while spousal employment is not responsive to longer wait times, spousal employment leads to longer waiting times, presumably because these applicants are more able to appeal. Together, these results suggest that coping strategies are used to both help applicants during the wait time and to extend the waiting time and increase their probability of success.

CRS — Social Security: Trust Fund Investment Practices (August 20, 2014)

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Social Security: Trust Fund Investment Practices (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Social Security Act has always required surplus Social Security revenues (revenues in excess of program expenditures) to be invested in U.S. government securities (or U.S. government-backed securities). In recent years, attention has been focused on alternative investment practices in an effort to increase the interest earnings of the trust funds, among other goals. This report describes Social Security trust fund investment practices under current law.

CRS — Primer on Disability Benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (August 1, 2014)

August 15, 2014 Comments off

Primer on Disability Benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In general, the goal of disability insurance is to replace a portion of a worker’s income should illness or disability prevent him or her from working. Individuals may receive disability benefits from either federal or state governments, or from private insurers. This report presents information on two types of disability programs provided through the federal government: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. SSDI is an insurance program that provides benefits to individuals who have paid into the system and meet certain minimum work requirements. In contrast, SSI is a means-tested program that does not have work or contribution requirements, but restricts benefits to those who meet certain financial eligibility criteria.

CRS — Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits (August 4, 2014)

August 13, 2014 Comments off

Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Social Security provides monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members, and to the family members of deceased workers. Those benefits were exempt from federal income tax, but in 1983, Congress approved recommendations from the National Commission on Social Security Reform (also known as the Greenspan Commission) to tax the benefits of some higher-income Social Security beneficiaries. Beginning in 1984, up to 50% of Social Security and Railroad Retirement Tier I benefits were taxable for individuals whose provisional income exceeds $25,000. The threshold is $32,000 for married couples. Provisional income equals adjusted gross income (total income from all sources recognized for tax purposes) plus certain otherwise tax-exempt income, including half of Social Security and Railroad Retirement Tier I benefits. The proceeds from taxing Social Security and Railroad Retirement Tier I benefits at up to the 50% rate are credited to the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund, the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund, and the Railroad Retirement system respectively, based on the source of the benefit taxed.

CRS — Social Security: The Trust Fund (July 31, 2014)

August 13, 2014 Comments off

Social Security: The Trust Fund (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Social Security program pays benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members, and to family members of deceased workers. (A person may receive retired-worker benefits and continue to participate in the labor force.) Program income and outgo are accounted for in two separate trust funds authorized under Title II of the Social Security Act: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund. This report refers to the two trust funds as an aggregate Social Security trust fund and discusses the operations of the OASI and DI trust funds on a combined basis.

Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2014 Update in Perspective

July 30, 2014 Comments off

Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2014 Update in Perspective
Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

The brief’s key findings are:

The 2014 Trustees Report shows little change from last year:

  • Social Security’s 75-year deficit rose modestly to 2.88 percent of payroll.
  • But the deficit as a percent of GDP is still 1 percent.
  • And trust fund exhaustion is still 2033, after which payroll taxes still cover about three quarters of promised benefits.

The shortfall is manageable but, with the deficit rising to about 4 percent in two decades, action should be taken soon to avoid larger tax/benefit changes later.

And the disability insurance program needs immediate attention, as its trust fund is expected to be exhausted in 2016.

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