Current law provides rights to spouses of retirement plan participants. Protections are stronger in defined benefit (DB) plans than in defined contribution (DC) plans.
Social Security benefits are paid through a self-financing system.
Social Security program administration has multiple functions. It processes applications and payments and operates field offices around the country.
Some proposals to address Social Security solvency would adjust the calculation of initial benefits. Others adjust benefit growth over time.
Social Security benefits are calculated as a percentage of lifetime average earnings. Policymakers consider two factors when establishing the calculation of lifetime average earnings.
Older women experience higher poverty rates than older men. They also, as a rule, receive lower Social Security benefits.
From time to time, Social Security’s long-term solvency challenges have been used to justify basic structural changes.
The federal government subsidizes and incentivizes retirement savings through tax benefits for both individuals and employers.
Some employers, mainly larger and mid-sized ones, offer workers access to a retirement plan.