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An experimental analysis of modifications to the survivor benefit information within the Social Security statement

  • JEFFREY DIEBOLD (a1) and SUSAN CAMILLERI (a2)
Abstract

The Social Security Statement is the primary resource most workers prefer to use to learn about their Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration periodically mails this and supporting documents to all workers to help them make informed decisions about when to start receiving their benefits. Understandably, the Statement provides detailed information about the worker's retirement benefit. However, these documents contain remarkably little information about the survivor benefit despite the financial importance of this particular auxiliary benefit to the widows of deceased workers in widowhood. We analyze the effect of modifications to the survivor benefit information in the Statement on benefit knowledge and expected claiming behavior of married men using an experimental survey of workers. The results provide evidence that the augmentation of this information can temporarily improve benefit knowledge and influence expected claim ages.

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Journal of Pension Economics & Finance
  • ISSN: 1474-7472
  • EISSN: 1475-3022
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-pension-economics-and-finance
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