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The Supplemental Security Income Program and Incentives to Claim Social Security Retirement Early


  • Powers, Elizabeth T.
  • Neumark, David


Features of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the social security retirement system interact to create incentives for prospective participants in the aged portion of SSI to withdraw from the labor force and make an early old age insurance (OAI) claim under social security. This paper takes a first close look at this SSI–OAI interaction. We first review the incentives to take early OAI posed by SSI rules in a basic theoretical framework. The impact of SSI rules on the financial cost of delaying the initial OAI claim is quantified using the earnings profiles of actual SSI recipients from Social Security Administration records. We then examine whether patterns of first SSI claims and early OAI claims of SSI–aged participants are consistent with the incentives identified. Finally, regression tests of behavior consistent with the predictions of the theory are implemented. The evidence from these various approaches generally points to behavior that makes the SSI–OAI interaction plausible and potentially important, and that is consistent with predicted responses to the incentives for early retirement in social security created by the interactions of SSI and OAI. Throughout, the analyses are enhanced by access to Social Security Administration records that have been matched to individuals in the Surveys of Income and Program Participation.

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  • Powers, Elizabeth T. & Neumark, David, 2005. "The Supplemental Security Income Program and Incentives to Claim Social Security Retirement Early," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(1), pages 5-26, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:58:y:2005:i:1:p:5-26

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Neumark, David & Powers, Elizabeth T., 2005. "SSI, Labor Supply, and Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Mark Duggan & Melissa S. Kearney & Stephanie Rennane, 2015. "The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program," NBER Working Papers 21209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Todd Elder & Elizabeth Powers, 2007. "A Longitudinal Analysis of Entries and Exits of the Low-Income Elderly to and from the Supplemental Security Income Program," Working Papers wp156, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. repec:eee:pubeco:v:149:y:2017:i:c:p:20-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mark Duggan & Melissa S. Kearney & Stephanie Rennane, 2015. "The Supplemental Security Income Program," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 2, pages 1-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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