Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Changing Social Security in the US: Rising Insecurity?

  • Madonna Harrington Meyer (a1)

Although poverty rates among the elderly in the US are at an all-time low, many face rising fiscal insecurity. The US welfare state is being remodeled in market-friendly ways that maximise individual choice, risk, and responsibility, rather than family friendly ways that maximise shared risk and responsibility and reduce insecurity. This article analyses how each of the main sources of income for the aged are being either frozen or shrunk in ways that are likely to increase inequality and insecurity in the years ahead among the elderly, particularly those who are female, black and/or Hispanic, and unmarried. The article assesses various policy changes for their capacity to either increase or decrease financial insecurity and inequality, particularly for those with a life time of lower earnings, more labour force disruptions and greater responsibility for providing unpaid care work for the young, disabled or frail elderly.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

W. E. Even and D. A. Macpherson (2004) ‘When will the gender gap in retirement income narrow?’, Southern Economic Journal, 71, 1, 182200.

M. Harrington Meyer and E. Pavalko (1996) ‘Family, work, and access to health insurance among mature women’, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37, 4, 311–25.

M. Harrington Meyer , D. Wolf and C. Himes (2006) ‘Declining eligibility for social security spouse and widow benefits in the United States?’, Research on Aging, 28, 2, 240–60.

W. Korpi and J. Palme (1998) ‘The paradox of redistribution and strategies of equality: welfare state institutions, inequality, and poverty in the western countries’, American Sociological Review, 63, 5, 661–87.

J. S. Quadagno (1984) ‘Welfare capitalism and the Social Security Act of 1935’, American Sociological Review, 49, 5, 632–47.

T. Selden and B. Gray (2006) ‘Tax subsidies for employment based health insurance, estimates for 2006’, Health Affairs, 25, 6, 1568–79.

K. M. Shuey and A. M. O'Rand (2006) ‘Changing demographics and new pension risks’, Research on Aging, 28, 3, 317–40.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 21 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 140 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.