Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two new issue briefs from NASI

The National Academy of Social Insurance has released two new Social Security Briefs:

Tough Times Require Strong Benefits: Views on Social Security among African Americans, Hispanic Americans and White Americans 

By Maya Rockeymoore and Melissa Maitin-Shepard

 SUMMARY: All Americans firmly believe in Social Security's value to society and want government leaders to take action to keep the program vibrant for future generations. African Americans and Hispanics, who are more heavily reliant on Social Security benefits, express even stronger support for Social Security than whites on most measures.

A representative survey of individuals aged 18 or older on attitudes toward Social Security was conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group for the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Rockefeller Foundation in July 2009. This brief analyzes the responses from African Americans, Hispanic Americans and White Americans, who together made up about 92 percent of respondents.

Key findings from the poll are:

  • Overall, 88 percent of African Americans, 84 percent of Hispanics, and 74 percent of whites agree that preserving Social Security for future generations is critical, even if it means increasing Social Security taxes on workers.
  • When given a choice between cutting taxes and benefits or strengthening Social Security in response to the economic crisis and large deficit, 73 percent of African Americans, 67 percent of Hispanics, and 66 percent of whites support strengthening Social Security over cutting benefits.
  • African Americans (95%) and Hispanics (85%) are more likely than whites (80%) to assert that Social Security is or will be an important part of their retirement income.

Click here to visit NASI's website and download a PDF of the brief.

Click here to read the press release.

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When to Take Social Security: Questions to Consider

By Virginia P. Reno and Joni I. Lavery

SUMMARY: Two of the most important financial decisions people make are when to stop working and when to claim Social Security benefits.  Retirees can claim Social Security benefits at any age between 62 and 70.  These decisions have lasting consequences for the financial security of retirees and their spouses.  While trying circumstances – such as ill-health, caring for a sick family member or working in a job that is physically or emotionally demanding – may in some cases trump financial calculus in making these choices, delaying benefit receipt brings greater financial security to a retiree over the long term. This brief elaborates the following reasons why:

  • Monthly benefits will be higher for the rest of your life if you wait.
  • Social Security is the safest and most secure source of retirement income most people have, it is guaranteed to last for life and it automatically keeps up with the cost of living.
  • At advanced ages, work may no longer be an option, pensions may be eroded by inflation and savings may be depleted.
  • Maximizing Social Security benefits for the long term can offset some of the decline in other sources of support.

Click here to visit NASI's website and download a PDF of the brief.

Click here to read the press release.

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