|Ensuring a Minimum: Social Security Reform and Women
|Year of Publication
|Social Security, Women and Minorities
Purpose: The potential effects of implementing three different minimum benefits in Social Security, which have accompanied proposals to privatize the program and reform family benefits, are examined in relation to the adequacy of benefits for women reaching age 62 between 2020 and 2030. Design and Methods: The 1992 Health and Retirement Study is used to conduct a simplified microsimulation. Results: The minimum benefit proposal accompanying privatization proposals, which requires 40 earnings years for a poverty level benefit, fails to cover significant numbers of vulnerable women. The elimination of spousal benefits, criticized for being outdated and regressive, helps offset the costs of more generous minimum benefits, such as those that require residency or 10 earnings years for eligibility. Implications: Noncontributory benefits distributed based on marital status are not as effective at protecting poorer women, as well as a new generation of women that is less likely to be married, than are minimum benefits where eligibility is tied to U.S. residency or simply Social Security eligibility.