|Reporting accuracy of Social Security benefits and its implications in the Health and Retirement Study
|Year of Publication
|Dushi, I, Iams, HM
|Journal of Economic and Social Measurement
|Medicare/Medicaid/Health Insurance, Self Report, Social Security, Social Security linkage
This paper examines whether and to what extent the amount of Social Security benefits of older survey respondents in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) are reported accurately. Inaccurate reporting leads to biased estimates of gross Social Security benefits, affecting estimates of elderly well-being, including the proportion of beneficiaries classified as poor or near poor. Our findings indicate that 73% of HRS respondents report only the net amount of Social Security benefits they receive, excluding Medicare premiums. The implication is that Social Security benefits in the HRS are underestimates of the true gross benefits. Therefore, the HRS data overestimate the proportion of the elderly respondents who are poor or nearly poor. Finally, even after correcting for gross benefits, Social Security income comprises at least 50% of the total family income for about half of elderly respondents.