What Share of Non-covered Public Employees Will Earn Benefits that Fall Short of Social Security?

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Jean-Pierre Aubry, Siyan Liu, Alicia H. Munnell, and Laura D. Quinby, Boston College and Glenn Springstead of the U.S. Social Security Administration

Social Security is designed to serve as the base of retirement support, to be supplemented by employer-sponsored plans. However, some state and local government employees – approximately one-quarter, or 6.5 million workers annually – are not covered by Social Security on their current job. Federal law allows these noncovered workers to remain outside of Social Security if their state or local plan provides comparable benefits. Since many public pensions have grown less generous in recent years, determining whether state and local plans currently provide comparable benefits is important.