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AARP 2019 Social Security Policy Innovation Challenge

Most Social Security beneficiaries rely on Social Security as their main—or only—source of retirement income. Under the current program structure, however, people who must claim their Social Security benefits early due to ill health, an inability to perform physically demanding jobs, or other issues, receive substantially reduced monthly benefits for the rest of their lives.

To address this, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), in collaboration with AARP, hosted a Social Security Policy Innovations Challenge to identify much-needed solutions for these older workers who cannot delay claiming benefits. Applicants were invited to submit policy ideas that are innovative and feasible, and have the potential to improve economic security for older workers with limited employment opportunities. The authors of the winning proposals received $20,000 total for each of the four winning ideas. 

“We believe that good ideas that have undergone rigorous factual analysis can drive better policy making,” said AARP Chief Public Policy Officer Debra Whitman. “This Challenge serves as an opportunity to foster the kinds of innovative ideas that will challenge outdated beliefs and make this vital program stronger for future generations.”

This Innovation Challenge builds on the work of the 2017 Innovation Challenge launched by AARP, which also sought ideas to strengthen Social Security. 

A pile of twenty dollar bills with a social security card on top

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Policy Innovation Challenge Awardees

After a review by AARP staff for technical compliance, applications that met the innovation criteria were shared with an expert panel for blind review. AARP is committed to surfacing and developing policy innovations. AARP does not necessarily support any of the policy proposals identified as part of this innovation challenge.

Please visit NASI’s site to read the winning policy ideas.