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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 2, June 2021

The Bulletin on Retirement and Disability

A free digital quarterly summarizing research in the NBER's Retirement and Disability Research Center
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The number of applications and new awards for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) rose during the Great Recession and earlier economic downturns. Some have speculated that this phenomenon could occur again during the COVID-19 crisis in the wake of pandemic-related job losses. While the relationship between economic conditions and SSDI awards is well-established, the reasons for it are less clear. One theory is that recessions worsen health, making more individuals...

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Two-thirds of private-sector workers in the US have access to an employer-sponsored defined contribution plan. Annual contributions to such plans by employers and employees are about $500 billion. Retirees will increasingly rely on defined contribution plan wealth to supplement Social Security and maintain living standards in retirement, due to the long-term shift in employer pension plans from defined benefit to defined contribution type plans. While employer-sponsored...
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The Social Security Retirement Earnings Test (RET) applies to people before the full retirement age (FRA), which is age 67 for those turning 62 in 2022 and beyond. For individuals who claim retired worker benefits before the FRA, Social Security withholds benefits if earnings exceed a certain exempt amount. In 2021, the exempt amount is $18,960, although a higher amount applies in the year of attaining the FRA. Benefits are withheld at a rate of $1 for each $2 in earnings...
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Various NBER affiliates have been producing insightful research on the impacts of COVID-19 since the pandemic started last year. Many of these studies are also directly relevant for retirement and disability policy. In the links below, researchers discuss their particularly pertinent work on how COVID has affected such issues as gender and racial disparities and labor market dynamics. Stefania Albanesi Explores Gender Disparities in Labor Market Impact of the COVID-19...

The Bulletin on Retirement and Disability summarizes selected recent Working Papers. It is distributed digitally to economists and other interested persons for informational and discussion purposes. The Bulletin is not copyrighted and may be reproduced freely with attribution of source.

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The Bulletin on Retirement and Disability is edited by Courtney Coile.

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