One out of every eight Americans receives a substantial part of his income from the Social Security Act’s Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program. In fact, OASI payments are the primary source of income for most elderly citizens. Since the proportion of the population dependent on OASI is growing rapidly, it is important that the eligibility requirements for OASI benefits be equitable and related to well-defined goals.
The amount of OASI benefits eligible individuals receive has always been determined by an “earnings” or “retirement” test. This earnings test currently specifies that only those individuals who earn $2760 or less per year may receive full benefits. Earned income above that level reduces benefits proportionately. The earnings test does not apply to individuals aged 72 or older. This creates an unfortunate situation: people aged 72 or older receive benefits regardless of their earnings or other income; younger people receive benefits which are reduced as their earned income increases, but which are unaffected by other income. As a result, some people receive benefits they do not need, while others who need assistance receive reduced benefits. It is toward a resolution of this incongruity that this Note is addressed.
This Note will explain the workings of the present earnings test, and ex-amine the considerations that led to the inclusion of an earnings test in theoriginal Social Security Act. It will then trace the test’s development to the present, analyze the effects of the current test and consider proposals for reform.
This is a transcript of the 21st Annual Sheinberg Lecture delivered by Ai-jen Poo at NYU Law on April 8, 2015. Ms. Poo’s lecture, entitled “Waking Up the Caring Majority: Why We All Need to Care About the Aging of America,” discusses the
Analyzing the social security review system which is subject to political influences and conflicting law, and suggesting reforms.
One way to aid Social Security disability claimants is to enforce the recent articulation of the Treating Physician Rule as a Morgan evidentiary presumption.
Civil commitment issues with the mentally ill and the elderly; right to counsel, policy and due process considerations for involuntary commitment