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  • Understanding the Social Security Trust Funds
    Paul N. Van de Water
    Updated August 18, 2014

    Few budgetary concepts generate as much unintended confusion and deliberate misinformation as the Social Security trust funds.  Political candidates of both parties accuse their opponents of “raiding” the trust funds.[1]  Some writers disparage the trust funds as “funny money,” “IOUs,” …
  • What the 2014 Trustees’ Report Shows About Social Security
    Kathy Ruffing
    August 13, 2014

    Social Security can pay full benefits for close to two decades, the trustees’ latest annual report shows, but will then face a significant, though manageable, funding shortfall that the President and Congress should address in the near future.[1]  Doing so would permit changes that are gradual rather than sudden and allow …
  • Chart Book: Social Security Disability Insurance
    Updated August 4, 2014

    Disability Insurance (DI) is an integral part of Social Security.  It provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves on account of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the DI program. In December 2013, 8.9 million people received disabled-worker benefits …
  • Congress Needs to Boost Disability Insurance Share of Payroll
    Tax by 2016

    Kathy Ruffing and Paul N. Van de Water
    Updated July 31, 2014

    Policymakers need to replenish the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund by late 2016, but that necessity comes as no surprise and poses no crisis.  Although the DI trust fund is legally separate from the much larger Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund, both are integral parts of Social Security.  …
  • Media Briefing: Understanding the Annual Reports of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees
    Featuring: Robert Greenstein, Kathy Ruffing and Paul N. Van de Water
    July 29, 2014

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities held a conference call briefing on Monday, July 28 at 4:00 p.m. (ET) to discuss the annual reports that the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released earlier that day.  Paul Van de Water and Kathy Ruffing, Senior Fellows at the Center and …
  • Statement of Robert Greenstein, President, on the 2014 Social Security Trustees’ Report
    Robert Greenstein
    July 28, 2014

    Social Security can pay full benefits for close to two decades, the new trustees’ report shows, but will then face a significant, though manageable, funding shortfall that the President and Congress should address in the near future. Specifically, the trustees estimate that Social …
  • Conference Call: Understanding the Annual Reports of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees
    July 23, 2014

  • Statement by Robert Greenstein, President, on the House Passage of Chairman Ryan's Budget Plan
    Robert Greenstein
    April 11, 2014

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget, which the House has now passed, is anything but that for most families and individuals.  Affluent Americans would do quite well, but for tens of millions of others, the Ryan plan — which gets 69 …
  • Statement by Robert Greenstein, President, on Chairman Ryan’s Budget Plan
    Robert Greenstein
    April 1, 2014

    Update, April 11: Robert Greenstein has issued a statement on the House passage of the Ryan budget, which includes updated figures. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new “Path to Prosperity” is, sadly, anything but that for most Americans.  Affluent Americans would do quite well.  But for tens of millions of others, …
  • Preview of New Ryan Budget: As Extreme as Last Year's, If Not More So
    Sharon Parrott and Joel Friedman
    March 31, 2014

    Basic budget arithmetic suggests that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s coming budget will be at least as extreme as his budget last year, and likely more so.  The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest deficit projections are roughly $1 trillion higher over the coming decade than last year’s …
  • Policy Basics: Federal Payroll Taxes
    Updated March 31, 2014

    The federal government levies payroll taxes primarily on wages and self-employment income and uses most of the revenue to fund Social Security, Medicare, and other social insurance benefits.  In fiscal year 2013, federal payroll taxes generated $947 billion, or 34 percent of all federal revenues (see Policy Basics:  Where Do Federal Tax Revenues …
  • Policy Basics: Social Security Disability Insurance
    Revised March 14, 2014

    What Is Social Security Disability Insurance? Disability Insurance (DI) is an integral part of Social Security.  It provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves on account of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the DI program. In December 2013, 8.9 …
  • Key Elements of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget
    Joel Friedman, Robert Greenstein and Sharon Parrott
    March 5, 2014

    President Obama’s 2015 budget seeks to strengthen the economic recovery in the near term; reduce deficits and debt as a share of the economy over the medium and long term through higher revenues, program cuts, and comprehensive immigration reform; help low-wage workers by strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit; and increase …
  • Statement of Robert Greenstein on President Obama’s New Budget
    Robert Greenstein
    March 4, 2014

    President Obama’s new budget is a solid blueprint that would reduce deficits, alleviate poverty, and boost investment in areas needed for future economic growth, such as infrastructure, education, and research.  On the deficit front, the budget confounds the recent predictions of some …
  • Introduction to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program
    Revised February 27, 2014

    What Is Supplemental Security Income? The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly cash assistance to people who are disabled, blind, or elderly and have little income and few assets.  In December 2013, nearly 8.4 million people collected SSI benefits (see Figure 1).[1]  For nearly three-fifths of …
  • Policy Basics: Introduction to Supplemental Security Income
    Updated February 27, 2014

    What Is the Supplemental Security Income Program? The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly cash assistance to people who are disabled, blind, or elderly and have little income and few assets.  SSI is distinct from the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs commonly known as Social Security, though many …
  • How Much of the Growth in Disability Insurance Stems From Demographic Changes?
    Kathy Ruffing
    January 27, 2014

    The Disability Insurance (DI) program — a vital part of Social Security that pays modest benefits to people who can no longer support themselves by working due to severe medical impairments — has grown rapidly in recent decades.  The program’s chief actuary has consistently stated that demographic changes …
  • Chart Book: The War on Poverty at 50, Section 3
    Arloc Sherman, Sharon Parrott, and Danilo Trisi
    January 7, 2014

    The safety net has developed over many decades and now helps millions of people make ends meet and access affordable health care.  Census data and new research show that the safety net today both keeps tens of millions of people above the poverty line and has positive longer-term impacts on children, including …
  • Commentary: War on Poverty: Large Positive Impact, But More Work Remains
    Sharon Parrott
    January 7, 2014

    President Reagan famously declared, and others have often repeated, that the United States fought a war on poverty and poverty won.  But, as we mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, we should recognize that poverty has fallen significantly over the last half-century, and other troubling poverty-related conditions have …
  • Chart Book: The War on Poverty at 50, Overview
    Arloc Sherman, Sharon Parrott, and Danilo Trisi
    Updated January 7, 2014

    As we mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, we should recognize that poverty has fallen significantly over the last half-century when measured using a comprehensive poverty measure, and other troubling poverty-related conditions have declined. Today’s safety net — which includes important programs and improvements …
  • Chart Book: The War on Poverty at 50, Section 1
    Arloc Sherman, Sharon Parrott, and Danilo Trisi
    January 6, 2014

    The following charts illustrate that: An expanded poverty measure shows progress that the official measure masks (Part I); Elderly poverty has fallen substantially under any measure (Part II); The safety net reduces child poverty substantially (Part III); Incomes rose at the bottom (Part IV); and Incomes …
  • Chart Book: The War on Poverty at 50, Section 2
    Arloc Sherman, Sharon Parrott, and Danilo Trisi
    January 6, 2014

    Many changes in American society over the last 50 years have affected poverty.  Some have exerted upward pressure on poverty, such as an increase in the share of economic gains going to top earners, higher rates of single parenthood, and diminished labor market prospects for less-skilled workers.  At the same time, it’s often overlooked that …
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