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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Social Security: The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Date: January 14, 2008
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Description: This report discusses the windfall elimination provision (WEP), which reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security. Its purpose is to remove an advantage these workers would otherwise receive because of Social Security’s benefit formula that favors workers with smaller amounts of Social Security-covered career earnings. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and often unfair.
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Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Date: September 14, 2012
Creator: Moulta-Ali, Umar
Description: This report discusses the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, enacted in 1974, which is a needs-based program that provides cash benefits designed to ensure a minimum income to aged, blind, or disabled persons with limited income and assets.
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Social Security Benefits for Noncitizens: Current Policy and Legislation

Social Security Benefits for Noncitizens: Current Policy and Legislation

Date: January 24, 2007
Creator: Nuschler, Dawn & Siskin, Alison
Description: Concerns about the number of unauthorized (illegal) aliens residing in the United States and the totalization agreement with Mexico signed in 2004 have fostered considerable interest in the eligibility of noncitizens for U.S. Social Security benefits. This report examines the issue and discusses current legislation pertaining to it.
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Age Dependency Ratios and Social Security Solvency

Age Dependency Ratios and Social Security Solvency

Date: October 27, 2006
Creator: Shrestha, Laura B.
Description: As highlighted by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the aging of the (United States) population, hastened by the impending retirement of the huge baby-boom generation, has caused policy-makers to question whether the U.S. Social Security system can meet the demands for retirement benefits in the future. Because the current system largely pays benefits through taxes paid by current workers, the financial health of the system is sensitive to the ratio of dependents to workers—sometimes called the age dependency ratio or support ratio. Trends and projections of dependency ratios, including the relationship between both older (years 65 and older) and younger (under age 20) dependents to the working-age population in the United States are considered in the first section of this demographic report. Next, the United States is compared to nine other nations, including the seven other members of the G8. In the final section, policy implications of the changing dependent-to-worker ratios are considered in the context of pay-as-you-go (paygo) social security systems.
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The Structure of Social Security Individual Account Contributions and Investments: Choices and Implications

The Structure of Social Security Individual Account Contributions and Investments: Choices and Implications

Date: May 1, 2006
Creator: Whitman, Debra B.
Description: Policymakers have debated creating a system of individual accounts (IAs) as part of Social Security for many years. This report describes policymakers’ administrative and structural choices regarding the collection and investment of assets in a system of individual accounts.
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Tax Code Termination Act: A Fact Sheet

Tax Code Termination Act: A Fact Sheet

Date: August 12, 1998
Creator: Bickley, James M.
Description: This report discusses the Tax Code Termination Act, which would “sunset” (repeal) the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 on December 31, 2002 and would require that any new federal tax system that is adopted be approved not later than July 4, 2002.
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Social Security: Revisiting Benefits for Spouses and Survivors

Social Security: Revisiting Benefits for Spouses and Survivors

Date: November 5, 2010
Creator: Shelton, Alison M. & Nuschler, Dawn
Description: This report describes the current-law structure of auxiliary benefits for spouses, divorced spouses and surviving spouses. It also discusses some of the issues concerning the adequacy and equity of the current-law structure of auxiliary benefits, and presents some recent proposals.
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Social Security: The Government Pension Offset

Social Security: The Government Pension Offset

Date: February 13, 2003
Creator: Kollmann, Geoffrey
Description: This report discusses the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision, which reduces Social Security benefits that a person receives as a spouse if he or she also has a government pension based on work that was not covered by Social Security. Its purpose is to replicate Social Security’s “dual entitlement” rule, which requires that a Social Security benefit earned as a worker be subtracted from any Social Security spousal benefit to which the worker is eligible. Its intent is to remove an advantage these workers would otherwise receive if they could receive both a government pension and full Social Security spousal benefits. Opponents contend that the provision is basically inaccurate and often unfair. Five bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress that would modify or repeal the provision.
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Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)

Social Security: The Government Pension Offset (GPO)

Date: March 4, 2009
Creator: Shelton, Alison M.
Description: This report discusses the social security benefits and the spousal benefits of individuals who are not financially dependent on their spouses because they receive benefits based on their own work records.
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Social Security Administration: Workloads, Resources, and Service Delivery

Social Security Administration: Workloads, Resources, and Service Delivery

Date: February 6, 2009
Creator: Romig, Kathleen
Description: This report provides an overview of SSA's workloads, resources, and service delivery since FY1996, the first full fiscal year in which SSA became an independent agency. It also covers issues for Congress, focusing on recommendations made by the independent SSAB, Government Accountability Office, SSA's Office of the Inspector General, and the National Research Council.
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Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress

Date: October 28, 2008
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-215) that established a pension system for federal employees in the executive branch of government.
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Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2005

Social Security: The Cost-of-Living Adjustment in January 2005

Date: October 19, 2004
Creator: Sidor, Gary
Description: This report discusses how the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits are determined. The 2.7% COLA payable in January 2005 was triggered by the rise in the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) from the third quarter of 2003 to the third quarter of 2004. This COLA triggers identical percentage increases in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans' pensions, and railroad retirement benefits, and causes other changes in the Social Security program.
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Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits

Social Security: Calculation and History of Taxing Benefits

Date: October 21, 2008
Creator: Mulvey, Janemarie & Scott, Christine
Description: This report discusses the Social Security system that provides monthly benefits to qualified retirees, disabled workers, and their spouses and dependents.
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Social Security: Brief Facts and Statistics

Social Security: Brief Facts and Statistics

Date: March 20, 2003
Creator: Kollmann, Geoffrey
Description: This report provides brief facts and statistics about Social Security that are frequently requested by Members of Congress and their staffs. It includes information about Social Security taxes and benefits, the program's impact on recipients' incomes, federal tax receipts, federal spending and the economy, administrative information, and selected facts about Medicare.
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Disability Evaluation of Military Servicemembers

Disability Evaluation of Military Servicemembers

Date: October 21, 2008
Creator: Scott, Christine; Panangala, Sidath V. & Henning, Charles A.
Description: This report is intended as a primer to describe disability evaluation in general, including evaluations used by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in addition to civilian evaluations used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and by workers' compensation programs.
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Social Security: The Windfall Benefit Provision

Social Security: The Windfall Benefit Provision

Date: January 9, 2004
Creator: Haltzel, Laura
Description: This report discusses the windfall elimination provision, which reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security. Its purpose is to remove an advantage these workers would otherwise receive because of Social Security's benefit formula that favors workers with smaller amounts of Social Security-covered career earnings. Opponents contend that the provision is basically inaccurate and often unfair. In both the 107th and 108th Congresses, five bills have been introduced that would modify or repeal the provision.
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Social Security Notch Issue: A Summary

Social Security Notch Issue: A Summary

Date: March 6, 2003
Creator: Kollmann, Geoffrey
Description: This report discusses recent attempts at legislative action regarding changes to the computation of benefits under Social Security Amendments of 1977 (P.L. 95-216), which directly affected retirees born in the 5- to 15-year period after 1916. These persons fall in the "notch" between previous Social Security legislation and those affected by the amendments.
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Potential Impact of No Social Security COLA on Medicare Part B Premiums in 2016

Potential Impact of No Social Security COLA on Medicare Part B Premiums in 2016

Date: October 20, 2015
Creator: Davis, Patricia A.
Description: This report provides an overview of Medicare Part B premiums, the relationship between the Social Security cost-of-living increase (COLA) and Part B premiums, and the potential impact of a projected 0% Social Security COLA in 2016 on Medicare premiums, based on recent projections by the Medicare Trustees.
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The Social Security Number: Legal Developments Affecting Its Collection, Disclosure, and Confidentiality

The Social Security Number: Legal Developments Affecting Its Collection, Disclosure, and Confidentiality

Date: February 21, 2008
Creator: Swendiman, Kathleen S.
Description: This report provides a comprehensive list of federal developments affecting use of social security numbers (SSNs), from 1935 to the present. This list includes federal statutes regulating the collection and disclosure of SSNs, as well as specific authorizations for the use of SSNs, confidentiality provisions, and criminal provisions relating to SSN misuse.
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources During a Pandemic

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources During a Pandemic

Date: August 18, 2008
Creator: Lee Jones, Nancy
Description: This report examines selected proposed priorities in light of the nondiscrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
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Disability Evaluation of Military Servicemembers

Disability Evaluation of Military Servicemembers

Date: January 27, 2009
Creator: Scott, Christine; Panangala, Sidath V.; Henning, Charles A. & Szymendera, Scott
Description: This report is intended as a primer to describe disability evaluation in general, including evaluations used by the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in addition to civilian evaluations used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and by workers' compensation programs. It also describes the DOD and VA disability rating processes in greater detail as well as recent congressional and executive actions and recommendations regarding DOD and VA disability evaluations.
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Social Security Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Social Security Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Date: February 13, 2009
Creator: Szymendera, Scott
Description: This report discusses certain provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that pertain to Social Security. The ARRA as passed by the House of Representatives and Senate provides over $1 billion in supplemental appropriations to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and provides for a onetime $250 payment to all SSI recipients and adult Social Security beneficiaries.
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Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Retirement Savings and Household Wealth in 2007

Date: April 8, 2009
Creator: Purcell, Patrick
Description: This report discusses various issues that impact the retirement income of Americans. About half of all workers in the United States participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan of some kind, a proportion that has remained relatively stable over the past thirty years. Because the majority of assets held in retirement accounts are invested in stocks, trends in stock prices have a significant impact on households' retirement account balances.
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How Would Medicare Part B Premiums Be Affected If There Is No Social Security COLA?

How Would Medicare Part B Premiums Be Affected If There Is No Social Security COLA?

Date: May 4, 2009
Creator: Romig, Kathleen & Hahn, Jim
Description: This report outlines how Medicare Part B premiums and Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are calculated, and how the COLA affects Part B premiums. The report also examines a scenario in which Medicare Part B premiums rise but Social Security benefits do not.
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