Statistical Reports from the Social Security Administration. (Focus on Statistics)

By Parker, Robert P. | Business Economics, January 2002 | Go to article overview
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Statistical Reports from the Social Security Administration. (Focus on Statistics)


Parker, Robert P., Business Economics


Social security reform is one of the most pressing economic issues facing the United States, and it is a major legislative priority for both the administration and the Congress. To support the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) policy development and analysis, SSA's Office of Policy produces statistical reports and analytic studies designed to provide a base of information for this work. In addition, SSA's Office of the Chief Actuary also produces statistical information and the SSA Trustees Report.

Statistical reports produced by the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics in the Office of Policy are based primarily on SSA's program records, in particular, data files from the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDJ) program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and from Internal Revenue tax and earnings information. Some of these reports integrate data from Census Bureau household surveys and from other government agencies. Research and policy studies report on the impact Social Security has on the population in terms of benefit adequacy and equity. They evaluate the effects of proposed policy changes on individuals, the economy, and SSA programs.

Publications of the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics are available on the Office of Policy Web site at www.ssa.gov/policy. This site contains information about all reports prepared by the Office of Policy, includes ordering information for all reports, and provides links to other sites of related interest. Similar information about publications of the Office of the Chief Actuary is available on its Web site at www.ssa.gov/OACT/.

Key Reports

The Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin includes the most detailed data available on the OASDI and SSI programs. More than 250 statistical tables convey a wide range of information about those programs--from beneficiary counts and benefit amounts to the status of the Trust Funds. While the majority of tables are derived from Social Security records, the Supplement contains information based on data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and on administrative data from other government agencies. The Supplement contains information on a wide range of government health and income maintenance programs, making it a broad compendium of information in this area. The Supplement includes information on Medicare and Medicaid, worker's compensation, black lung benefits, unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance, veterans' benefits, food stamps, temporary assistance to needy families, and low income energy assistance. The Supplement also includes detailed program descri ptions, legislative histories, and a glossary of program terms, which assist in the understanding of programs and provide a framework for the statistical information.

The biannual report, Income of the Population 55 or Older, provides a broad income picture of a cross section of the population aged 55 or older, with special emphasis on income of the population aged sixty-five or older. Information in this report is based on the data from the Current Population Survey. Detailed tabulations focus on the major sources and amounts of income for these age groups including income from earnings, Social Security benefits, other public and private pensions, and a variety of other income sources. Income and poverty status are discussed in terms of major demographic characteristics, such as age, race, sex, marital status, Hispanic origin, and others as well. The report includes tables that provide an analysis of the incomes of Social Security beneficiaries. The Income of the Aged Chartbook provides a concise and comprehensive summary of information contained in the Income of the Population 55 or Older. This Chartbook focuses on the receipt and shares of income from Social Security, pension, assets, earnings, and public assistance. That information shows the role that Social Security benefits play in the income of the aged, as well as the role that other income sources play in providing for retirement income.

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