A New Social Security 'Notch'? Bad News for People Born in 1947
AbstractThis year, Social Security benefits received no Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for the first time since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975. While current beneficiaries perceive themselves to be harmed, they were compensated by receiving a higher-than-normal 5.8-percent COLA payment in 2009. However, a quirk in Social Security’s benefit formula will produce lower benefits for new retirees, presenting a stronger case for help. Social Security’s formula for granting COLAs, interacting with a spike in inflation during 2008, could reduce benefits for individuals born in 1947 by around 2.6 percent relative to the average benefits received by the 1930-1946 birth cohorts, costing a typical couple over $12,000 over the course of their retirement. Policymakers should consider adjusting benefits for these individuals and implementing longer-term reforms to reduce the likelihood of future “notches.” This brief proceeds as follows. The first section describes the Social Security notch of the 1970s. The second section explains how Social Security’s benefit formula works. The third section looks at how the experience of 2008 has created a new type of notch. The fourth section considers how replacement rates vary for different birth cohorts, and the fifth section offers potential solutions. The final section concludes that some adjustment for the 1947 cohort is both popular and sensible.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Issues in Brief with number ib2010-9.
Length: 8 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision: May 2009
Publication status: published on the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College website
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Hovey House, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Phone: (617) 552-1762
Fax: (617) 552-0191
Web page: http://crr.bc.edu/
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Grzybowski) or (Christopher F Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.