Announcements

THE SOCIAL INSURANCE RESEARCH NETWORK (SIRN), sponsored by the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) The Social Insurance Research Network (SIRN), directed by Larry Atkins, President, National Academy of Social Insurance, is an online venue providing access to scholarly research and professional announcements in the Social Insurance community. Social Insurance includes the systems for insuring workers and their families against economic insecurity caused by the loss of income from work and the cost of health care, such as Social Security, Medicare, Workers' Compensation, unemployment insurance, related social assistance and private employee benefits. NASI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policymaking on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas. SIRN is dedicated to increasing communication among social insurance scholars, practitioners, and policy makers throughout the world.


Table of Contents

Differential Mortality and Retirement Benefits in the Health and Retirement Study

Barry Bosworth, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program
Kathleen Burke, Brookings Institution

The Impact of Mandatory Coverage on State and Local Budgets

Alicia H. Munnell, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research
Jean-Pierre Aubry, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research
Anek Belbase, Boston College - Retirement Research Center

The Social Security Statement: Background, Implementation, and Recent Developments

Barbara A. Smith, Government of the United States of America, Social Security Administration, Office of Retirement Policy
Kenneth A. Couch, University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Optimal Army Officer Retirement

Andrew O. Hall, Department of Mathematical Sciences, USMA, University of Maryland - Decision and Information Technologies Department
Michael Fu, University of Maryland, College Park

Recruitment in the Mental Health Treatment Study: A Behavioral Health/Employment Intervention for Social Security Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries

David S. Salkever, UMBC, Department of Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University - Bloomberg School of Public Health
Brent Gibbons, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
William D. Frey, Westat, Inc. - Westat
Roline Milfort, Westat, Inc. - Westat
Julie Bollmer, Westat, Inc. - Westat
Thomas W. Hale, Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration
Robert E. Drake, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Howard H. Goldman, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Save More Tomorrow: A Theoretical Assessment

T. Scott Findley, Utah State University
Frank Caliendo, Utah State University


SOCIAL SECURITY, PENSIONS & RETIREMENT INCOME eJOURNAL

"Differential Mortality and Retirement Benefits in the Health and Retirement Study" Free Download

BARRY BOSWORTH, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program
Email:
KATHLEEN BURKE, Brookings Institution
Email:

This analysis uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine the sources of variation in mortality for individuals of varying socioeconomic status. The use of the HRS allows a distinction between education and a measure of career earnings as primary determinants of socioeconomic status for men and women separately. We use those predictions of mortality to estimate the distribution of annual and lifetime Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits for different birth cohorts spanning the birth years from 1900 to 1950. We find differential rates of mortality have had substantial effects in altering the distribution of lifetime benefits in favor of higher income individuals.

"The Impact of Mandatory Coverage on State and Local Budgets" Free Download
Boston College Retirement Research Center Working Paper No. 2014-9

ALICIA H. MUNNELL, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research
Email:
JEAN-PIERRE AUBRY, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research
Email:
ANEK BELBASE, Boston College - Retirement Research Center
Email:

The policy option of extending mandatory Social Security coverage to newly hired uncovered state and local workers is often included in packages to eliminate the program’s financing shortfall. The arguments for mandatory coverage go beyond financial considerations, though, as extending coverage would bring benefit protections that state and local workers currently lack and would improve equity by more broadly sharing the burden of Social Security’s legacy costs. The main argument against mandatory coverage is that it would raise costs to public employers and workers. The actual cost increase depends on the extent to which employers reduce their existing pensions when adopting Social Security. This paper estimates the costs under four different integration strategies: 1) no adjustment to existing pensions; 2) match the level of the first-year benefit; 3) match the lifetime benefit; and 4) match the benefit to levels in neighboring states with Social Security coverage. This analysis is conducted for 22 state-administered plans in 13 states that were identified as lacking coverage. The results show that the cost of adding Social Security varies significantly, with the smallest increase for the “match lifetime benefit? option and the largest increase for the “no adjustment? option. Presenting the additional costs as a percent of payroll may exaggerate their burden on the employer as the increases will likely be split between employer and employee. Perhaps a better way to gauge the size of the cost increase is as a share of a state’s budget; this measure shows only a very modest impact.

"The Social Security Statement: Background, Implementation, and Recent Developments" Free Download
Social Security Bulletin. 74(2):1-25, 2014

BARBARA A. SMITH, Government of the United States of America, Social Security Administration, Office of Retirement Policy
Email:
KENNETH A. COUCH, University of Connecticut - Department of Economics
Email:

In 1995, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing annual earnings and benefit statements to workers aged 60 or older. By 2000, SSA was sending these statements to all workers aged 25 or older. It was the largest customized mailing ever undertaken by a federal agency. This article describes the development and implementation of the Social Security Statement; the changes in its distribution, content, and appearance over time; its relationship to SSA's strategic plans; and the surveys SSA commissioned to measure public awareness and knowledge of Social Security.

"Optimal Army Officer Retirement" Free Download
Robert H. Smith School Research Paper No. RHS 2445111

ANDREW O. HALL, Department of Mathematical Sciences, USMA, University of Maryland - Decision and Information Technologies Department
Email:
MICHAEL FU, University of Maryland, College Park
Email:

We model an optimal stopping problem describing the decision of an individual officer to retire from the Army. Our model incorporates the High Three retirement system and current compensation. We solve the resulting Markov decision process model by dynamic programming and investigate model sensitivities. Previous results from similar models suggested that the due course officer would reach an optimal retirement state at 23 years if passed over for promotion to Colonel, and at 26 years if selected for promotion. Our results suggest that the change in compensation structures and the retirement system have shifted the first optimal retirement state for most officers to be as soon as vested in retirement benefits, currently at 20 years. We explore manpower planning and policy implications of shifting retirement behavior and sensitivity of our model to altering model assumptions.

"Recruitment in the Mental Health Treatment Study: A Behavioral Health/Employment Intervention for Social Security Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries" Free Download
Social Security Bulletin. 74(2):27-46

DAVID S. SALKEVER, UMBC, Department of Public Policy, Johns Hopkins University - Bloomberg School of Public Health
Email:
BRENT GIBBONS, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Email:
WILLIAM D. FREY, Westat, Inc. - Westat
Email:
ROLINE MILFORT, Westat, Inc. - Westat
Email:
JULIE BOLLMER, Westat, Inc. - Westat
Email:
THOMAS W. HALE, Government of the United States of America - Social Security Administration
Email:
ROBERT E. DRAKE, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Email:
HOWARD H. GOLDMAN, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Email:

The recent development of evidence-based behavioral health and vocational rehabilitation interventions for persons with serious psychiatric impairments created the impetus for exploring the efficacy of those interventions if they were widely available to Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. As a first step in this endeavor — a multisite randomized trial for providing interventions to beneficiaries with psychiatric impairments — the Mental Health Treatment Study was implemented. The authors report on the subject recruitment patterns for the study, including assessment of take-up rates, and on the statistical analysis of the relationships between beneficiaries' characteristics and the probability of enrollment. Results indicated that take-up rates among potential MHTS subjects with confirmed telephone contacts met or exceeded rates for previous Social Security Administration randomized trials, and beneficiaries with administrative records of recent vocational or labor-market activity were most likely to enroll. The authors discuss implications of their analyses on recruitment in similar interventions in the future.

"Save More Tomorrow: A Theoretical Assessment" Free Download

T. SCOTT FINDLEY, Utah State University
Email:
FRANK CALIENDO, Utah State University
Email:

In the Save More Tomorrow (SMarT) program developed by Thaler and Benartzi (2004), an employee's saving rate increases with age, and these increases are often synchronized with wage raises to prevent a reduction in take-home pay. Existing research on the SMarT program is empirical and focuses on the development, implementation, and measurement of SMarT program participation. This paper complements this effort by providing a theoretical assessment of the performance of the SMarT program. We compute the welfare gains to hyperbolic discounters from participating in an employer-sponsored SMarT program, and we find that the gains can be large under multiple welfare criteria.

^top

About this eJournal

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts on all topics related to old age pensions and retirement. This includes papers on social security, employment based pensions and other publicly provided or tax-favored mechanisms for retirement income. The journal welcomes submissions from any discipline and a broad range of topic areas, including benefit adequacy, pension finance, the design and reform of social security and pension systems, retirement policy, and comparative analyses of U.S. pension and retirement issues with those of other countries.

Submissions

To submit your research to SSRN, sign in to the SSRN User HeadQuarters, click the My Papers link on left menu and then the Start New Submission button at top of page.

Distribution Services

If your organization is interested in increasing readership for its research by starting a Research Paper Series, or sponsoring a Subject Matter eJournal, please email: RPS@SSRN.com

Distributed by

Social Insurance Research Network (SIRN), a division of Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP) and Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

Directors

SIRN SUBJECT MATTER EJOURNALS

LARRY ATKINS
National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)
Email: latkins@nasi.org

Please contact us at the above addresses with your comments, questions or suggestions for SIRN-Sub.

Advisory Board

Social Security, Pensions & Retirement Income eJournal

HENRY J. AARON
Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program

KENNETH S. APFEL
Director, Management, Finance and Leadership Program - University of Maryland

MERTON C. BERNSTEIN
Walter Coles Professor of Law Emeritus, Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

BING YUNG-PING CHEN
Frank J. Manning Eminent Scholar's Chair in Gerontology, University of Massachusetts at Boston - Gerontology Institute

ERIC R. KINGSON
Professor of Social Work and Public Administration, Syracuse University - School of Social Work

OLIVIA S. MITCHELL
Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, Executive Director, Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

ALICIA MUNNELL
Peter F. Drucker Professor in Management Sciences, Boston College - Center for Retirement Research

JOHN L. PALMER
University Professor, Syracuse University - Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

STANFORD G. ROSS
Attorney and Consultant, Arnold & Porter, Chair, Social Security Advisory Board

C. EUGENE STEUERLE
Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

LAWRENCE H. THOMPSON
Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

JACK VANDERHEI
Research Director, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

JOHN B. WILLIAMSON
Professor of Sociology, Boston College - Department of Sociology