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Report Number P70BR-144
Kyle E. Moore, Daniel J. Perez-Lopez and John J. Hisnanick

Introduction

This brief reports program participation rates and benefit amounts received by individuals for selected social insurance programs in 2013, as reported in the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). 1 Government cash benefits to individuals are generally divided into two categories: social insurance and means-tested benefits. Social insurance programs are generally programs that are funded through payroll taxes. Eligibility is based on the occurrence of qualifying events, e.g. disability, retirement, or unemployment. On the other hand, means-tested benefits are programs for which only individuals whose income falls below a designated threshold are eligible. Specific programs discussed in this brief are:

  • Social Security (SS) benefits covering retirement and disability
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits covering service-connected disabilities
  • Unemployment compensation (UC)
  • Workers’ compensation (WC)

Recipients often receive benefits from these programs continuously and for an extended period of time. Of all people aged 18 or older interviewed for the 2013 reference year, 18.5 percent reported receiving income from one or more of the social insurance programs discussed in this brief.

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