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 or “windfall” these workers would otherwise receive as a result of the interaction between the Social Security benefit formula and the workers’ relatively short careers in Social Security-covered employment. Opponents contend that the provision is basically imprecise and can be unfair.
This report responds to the many inquiries that CRS gets for Social Security vote information, which range from requests for general information about legislative action over the years to requests for information about specific floor amendments. It is intended to be a reference document on the major statutory decisions made by Congress on the Social Security program. A detailed table of contents and a summary table of the legislation discussed are provided to aid the reader.
The Administration's FY2012 budget would zero-out certain national activities related to Community Service Block Grant (CSBG), including Rural Community Facilities and Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals (JOLI). The budget requests $20 million for Community Economic Development (down from the FY2010 level of $36 million but more than the final FY2011 level of $18 million), and would target these funds toward the multiagency Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The Administration would fund Individual Development Accounts (IDAs, also known as Assets for Independence) at $24 million in FY2012, which is the same level as in FY2010 and FY2011.
This report begins with a discussion of the foster care system and the Social Security benefits available to eligible children, including those in foster care. It then describes the role of representative payees and their responsibilities. The report provides data on the use of Social Security benefits to reimburse states for child welfare, and includes a discussion of the Keffeler decision. Finally, the report concludes with proposals supported by some advocates to change the current practice of using SSI and other Social Security benefits to fund foster care.
Social Security benefits received before a person attains full retirement age (FRA) are subject to an actuarial reduction for early retirement and also may be reduced by the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test (RET) if the beneficiary has earnings that exceed an annual threshold. This report explains how the RET is applied under current law and provides detailed benefit examples to show how the RET affects both the worker beneficiary and any family members (auxiliary beneficiaries) who receive benefits based on the worker beneficiary’s record. The report points out features of the RET that are not widely known or understood, such as the recomputation of benefits when a beneficiary attains FRA to adjust (increase) benefits to take into account months for which no benefit or a partial benefit was paid as a result of the RET. Finally, the report discusses policy issues related to the RET, including recent research on the effect of the RET on work effort and the decision to claim Social Security benefits.
This report explains the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and its legislative history. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is authorized by Title II of the Social Security Act and provides income replacement for eligible individuals who are unable to work due to a longterm injury or illness that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
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