Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study links US social security improvements to longer life span

Date:
February 17, 2011
Source:
New York Medical College
Summary:
A new study suggests that when US Social Security benefits are improved, people over the age of 65 benefit most, and may even live longer. The authors urge that, as Congress and the President discuss changes to Social Security, they consider the benefit of reduced mortality and improved health among older Americans.

New findings from researchers at New York Medical College suggest that when Social Security benefits are improved, people over the age of 65 benefit most, and may even live longer.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, Americans over the age of 65 experienced steep declines in the rate of mortality in the periods that followed the founding of and subsequent improvements to Social Security. The authors urge that as Congress and the President discuss changes to Social Security they consider the benefit of reduced mortality and improved health among older Americans.

"The political discourse around Social Security focuses exclusively on the system's long-range financial problems rather than on the benefits of improved health and reduced poverty," said Peter Arno, Ph.D., the study's lead author and professor and director of the doctoral program in the Department of Health Policy and Management of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College. "If Social Security is put on the chopping block, lawmakers will jeopardize the most important safety net for America's elderly."

Arno -- whose work is funded through a Robert Wood Johnson Foundationฎ Investigator Award in Health Policy Research -- and his colleagues analyzed the effect of Social Security on mortality over the course of the 20th century. After controlling for factors such as changes in the economy, access to medical care, and Medicare, they found that although mortality rates for all adults fell during the 20th century, rates of decline for those 65 and older changed more than 50 percent in the decades following the introduction of Social Security in 1940. Rates of decline for the younger age groups remained virtually the same during this period. The trend was particularly pronounced following marked improvements in Social Security benefits between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s.

This finding supports earlier studies that have demonstrated that beneficiaries with higher lifetime earnings experienced lower mortality rates, and that higher supplemental security income benefit levels reduced mortality and disability for those recipients. Improved health status among elders could have other fiscal impacts, including lower Medicare costs.

Many policy-makers are proposing cuts to Social Security benefits as a way of addressing long-term federal budget deficits. "If policy-makers are going to have a well-informed discussion on Social Security, it is critical that they fully appreciate the program's role in improving the health and well-being of our nation's elderly," says Arno. "By not considering the benefits of reduced mortality and poverty reduction, policy-makers are grossly underestimating Social Security's benefits to society."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York Medical College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter S Arno, James S House, Deborah Viola, Clyde Schechter. Social Security and mortality: The role of income support policies and population health in the United States. Journal of Public Health Policy, 2011; DOI: 10.1057/jphp.2011.2

Cite This Page:

New York Medical College. "Study links US social security improvements to longer life span." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217091128.htm>.
New York Medical College. (2011, February 17). Study links US social security improvements to longer life span. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217091128.htm
New York Medical College. "Study links US social security improvements to longer life span." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217091128.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) — Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins