Many express doubts about the financial stability of the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program and specifically whether they will receive Social Security benefits when they retire. Half of individuals aged 51-64 say they worry a great deal about whether they will receive their retirement benefits and more generally about the financial stability of the program. This skepticism is of concern given that these same individuals are currently paying Social Security taxes, which fund benefits for current retirees. To address this problem, this project will measure base levels of understanding regarding the financial stability of the program and test differing interventions to improve the public’s understanding of the issue and increase confidence in the Social Security Administration and the possibility of a political solution. We will implement survey-based experiments among a representative sample of the United States’ population, and examine the efficacy of new communication strategies by comparing them against current modes ofcommunication by the Social Security Administration. The project will provide evidence-based recommendations to inform the Social Security Administration’s outreach and communication efforts.
WI21-06: Improving Public Understanding of OASI: An Experimental Approach