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Social Security Policy Options: Adequacy and Solvency Effects

The AARP Public Policy Institute examines the effects of proposed Social Security reforms on various groups.

While many reform discussions center on the solvency effects of proposals, the bulk of the AARP Public Policy Institute’s work focuses on the distributional impacts of proposed changes to Social Security. In particular, much of this work centers on the adequacy of benefits—that is, understanding the effects of proposed changes on recipients, especially for those with intermittent or low-wage work histories, who are often women and minorities. By focusing on the adequacy of benefits, in addition to solvency, this work highlights the human impact of these proposals, not just the financial impact on the Social Security program.

Come back soon to explore our further analysis of each policy option below and learn how it could impact both solvency of the Social Security trust fund and the adequacy of benefits for various groups of Americans relying on Social Security in the near future and distant future. 

U S Capitol Building

Getty Images

Close up of a man using a calculator and holding receipts

Low-Earner Tax Credit

A woman getting her blood pressure taken at home by her caregiver

Caregiver Credit


Minimum Benefit

A couple dancing together at a formal event

Marriage Duration Reduction

A woman with her hands together, looking worried

Enhance Survivor Benefit

A woman sitting with her adult son and two teenage grandchildren

Long-term Beneficiary Boost

Woman standing behind her husband with her arms around his shoulders

Primary Insurance Amount Factors

A man with a cane and his caregiver walking in a park

Older Beneficiary Boost

A caregiver drying dishes for his mother while she sits at the kitchen table

Caregiver Computation Years

A couple shopping for clothing and looking at price tags

Consumer Price Index for the Elderly

A woman and her adult daughter grocery shopping in the produce isle

Cost of Living Adjustment

Three jars filled with various amounts of coins representing growing wealth

Progressive Price Indexing

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

Payroll Tax

A female teacher standing in front of a chalkboard holding a book

Computation Years

Happy retired couple walking in the park and laughing

Retirement Age

Couple looking at a computer and tax papers looking concerned

Taxable Maximum