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Changing Social Security in the US: Rising Insecurity?

  • Madonna Harrington Meyer (a1)
Abstract

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.

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

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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.

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

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

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Social Policy and Society
  • ISSN: 1474-7464
  • EISSN: 1475-3073
  • URL: /core/journals/social-policy-and-society
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