April 19, 2006
Recent CRS Reports on Social Security
Recent CRS reports include the following:
- SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM
- SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM: PRESIDENT BUSH'S INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT PROPOSAL
- SOCIAL SECURITY'S EFFECT ON CHILD POVERTY
- SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT: (TITLE XX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT)
- SOCIAL SECURITY: CALCULATION AND HISTORY OF TAXING BENEFITS
- SOCIAL SECURITY: RAISING OR ELIMINATING THE TAXABLE EARNINGS BASE
- SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE: THE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF CURRENT POLICY
SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM
CRS Publication Date: 03/21/2006
Document No.: IB98048
Author(s): Dawn Nuschler, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: In the 109th Congress, Representatives Kolbe, Johnson, Shaw, Ryan, Wexler, and McCrery and Senators Hagel, Sununu, DeMint, and Bennett have introduced reform bills (H.R. 440, H.R. 530, H.R. 750, H.R. 1776, H.R. 2472, H.R. 3304, S. 540, S. 857, S. 1302 and S. 2427, respectively). With the exception of H.R. 2472 and S. 2427, these measures would establish personal accounts within the Social Security system.
SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM: PRESIDENT BUSH'S INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT PROPOSAL
CRS Publication Date: 03/09/2006
Document No.: RL32879
Author(s): Laura Haltzel, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: This report is based on the President's 2005 IA proposal. The version portrayed in his FY2007 budget submission is not significantly different from his 2005 proposal. The main substantive difference is that the average interest that a worker would need to earn to break even would be reduced to 2.7% from 3%. Thus, if the account earned the 2.7% risk-adjusted annual rate of return, the worker would experience no reduction in overall Social Security income relative to current law.
SOCIAL SECURITY'S EFFECT ON CHILD POVERTY
CRS Publication Date: 02/23/2006
Document No.: RL33289
Author(s): Thomas Gabe, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: This report examines the effects of Social Security on child poverty. The estimates presented in this report are based on a CRS analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) data in September 2003.
SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT: (TITLE XX OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT)
CRS Publication Date: 02/09/2006
Document No.: 94-953
Author(s): Melinda Gish, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a flexible source of funds that states may use to support a wide variety of social services activities. States have broad discretion over the use of these funds. In 2003, the largest expenditures for services under the SSBG were for special services for the disabled and foster care services. Funding for the SSBG has been reduced considerably from its FY1995 peak of $2.8 billion. The FY2006 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-149) includes $1.7 billion for the SSBG and maintains states' authority to transfer up to 10% of their TANF block grants to the SSBG. In addition, the FY2006 Defense Appropriations Act (P.L. 109-148) includes $550 million in SSBG funding dedicated for necessary expenses related to the consequences of the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. The $1.7 billion appropriation of regular SSBG funds mirrors the President's requests for FY2002-FY2006; however, the President's most recent budget (for FY2007) proposes to reduce regular SSBG funding by $500 million, to a level of $1.2 billion. This report provides SSBG background information and tracks relevant legislation and appropriations measures.
SOCIAL SECURITY: CALCULATION AND HISTORY OF TAXING BENEFITS
CRS Publication Date: 01/19/2006
Document No.: RL32552
Author(s): Christine Scott, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: In the 108th Congress, 16 bills were introduced, but did not pass either chamber, that would have liberalized or repealed the taxation of Social Security benefits. In the 109th Congress, seven bills (H.R. 137, H.R. 179, H.R. 1014, H.R. 1517, H.R. 1809, H.R. 2202, and S. 774) have been introduced that would impact the taxation of Social Security benefits.
SOCIAL SECURITY: RAISING OR ELIMINATING THE TAXABLE EARNINGS BASE
CRS Publication Date: 01/26/2006
Document No.: RL32896
Author(s): Debra Whitman, Domestic Social Policy Division
Abstract: Social Security was enacted in 1935, and the Social Security tax was first levied in 1937. From 1937 through 1949 the tax rate was 1% (on employee and employer, each) on earnings up to $3,000 a year. Since that time the rate has risen to 6.2% and the taxable maximum has been increased to help meet the financing needs of the program, and to keep up to date with changing earnings levels. Since 1982, the Social Security earnings base has risen at the same rate as wages in the economy. By law the Commissioner of Social Security is required to raise the base whenever an automatic benefit increase - cost of living adjustment (COLA) - is granted to Social Security recipients, assuming wages have risen. The increase in the base from $90,000 in 2005 to $94,200 in 2006 is based on the increase in average wages from 2003 to 2004.
SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE: THE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF CURRENT POLICY
CRS Publication Date: 01/24/2006
Document No.: RL32747
Author(s): Marc Labonte, Government and Finance Division
Abstract: The United States is projected to undergo a demographic shift as the aging of the baby boomers causes an unprecedented increase in the fraction of the population that is retired. Coupled with rising life expectancy, this means, under current policy, a steady increase in the portion of the population that is not working and dependent on social insurance benefits from the government. This situation poses serious problems for the governments fiscal position and the economy as a whole if left unattended.
Ron Jones, University of Cincinnati College of Law
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