Academic journal article Social Security Bulletin

Message from the Associate Commissioner

Academic journal article Social Security Bulletin

Message from the Associate Commissioner

Article excerpt

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is committed to providing information about the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs through objective and responsive research, evaluation, and policy analysis. Our customers include decisionmakers, their staff, program administrators, the research community, and the public. We aim to provide the most relevant information in the clearest possible manner, while making efficient use of taxpayers' resources.

Since becoming an independent agency, SSA has taken major steps to improve our research and policy analysis activities. In response to recommendations by the Social Security Advisory Board and others, we have consolidated both research and policy development in a single organizational unit. The new Office of Policy has developed a policy and research agenda that sets out areas on which we will focus and the work underway or planned in those areas.

Major initiatives in support of the policy and research agenda include:

* Developing models to estimate the effects of changes in Social Security and SSI on retirement income, with a particular focus on economically vulnerable groups,

* Conducting a national survey (the National Study of Health and Activity) to estimate the prevalence of disability and identify factors that enable people with impairments to remain in the workforce,

* Evaluating changes in the structure and,administration of Social Security and SSI that aim to encourage disabled beneficiaries to return to work,

* Determining the extent to which the SSI program meets the needs of low-income individuals who are aged or disabled,

* Making statistical information and research findings more accessible, useful, and timely through our printed publications and the World Wide Web,

* Expanding access to SSA earnings, benefit, and other administrative data for research purposes while protecting privacy and confidentiality, and

* Promoting research on Social Security issues by researchers outside the government through a Retirement Research Consortium and Disability Research Institute. …

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