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Reducing women's poverty by shifting social security benefits from retired couples to widows

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Author Info

  • Steven H. Sandell

    (Social Security Administration, Office of Research and Statistics, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008-2321)

  • Howard M. Iams

    (Social Security Administration, Office of Research and Statistics, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008-2321)

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    Abstract

    This article examines proposals to transfer Social Security benefits from married couples to surviving widows in terms of effects on poverty rates, trust fund expenditures, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) expenditures. Because widows are much more likely to be living in poverty than older married women, it makes sense to consider Social Security benefits in a lifetime framework and transfer some benefits from the time both the husband and wife are alive to the time when there is only one survivor, usually the wife. Because of expected life span and age differences of marital partners, a $1 reduction of the couple's benefit can finance a $1.45 increase in the widow's benefit. The 1990 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) matched to the Social Security Administration's benefit records are the basis for the estimates.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 16 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 279-297

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:16:y:1997:i:2:p:279-297

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    Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Richard V. Burkhauser & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1994. "Social Security Reform: A Budget Neutral Approach to Reducing Older Women's Disproportional Risk of Poverty," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University 2, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    2. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
    3. Burkhauser, Richard V & Duncan, Greg J, 1991. "United States Public Policy and the Elderly: The Disproportionate Risk to the Well-Being of Women," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 217-31, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. David R. Weir & Robert J. Willis & Purvi A. Sevak, 2002. "The Economic Consequences of Widowhood," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp023, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Seonglim Lee & Jinkook Lee & Yunhee Chang, 2014. "Is Dual Income Costly for Married Couples? An Analysis of Household Expenditures," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 161-177, June.

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