Do Public Workers Without Social Security Get Comparable Benefits?
The brief’s key findings are:
- About one quarter of state and local workers are not currently covered by Social Security.
- Federal standards require that state and local plans provide their noncovered workers benefits equivalent to Social Security at the full retirement age.
- This study explores whether the plans satisfy the federal standards, and whether the standards themselves ensure equivalent benefits.
- The results show that public plans do adhere to the standards, and the standards satisfy the letter of the law.
- But looking beyond the standards to see if plans also provide equal lifetime benefits suggests that a significant portion fall short for some of their members.
- Policy options include updating the standards to a lifetime measure or, more importantly, requiring all public workers to be covered by Social Security.