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Social Security Administration (SSA) Supplement Survey for SIPP Respondents FAQ's

How is this different from the SIPP survey?

The SSA Supplement survey is separate from the SIPP survey, even though households are selected from the same sample. The Social Security Administration (SSA) sponsors this survey. They will analyze the information collected from both surveys. The Supplement uses some of the general questions from SIPP, like marital and health status, but most of the questions asked in this survey are more detailed and not asked in SIPP.

Why do you need all this information?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the information collected through this survey to make decisions about Social Security programs that affect millions of Americans. The SSA will use the data from the SIPP and SSA Supplement surveys to create a picture of the economic and social situation of people with disabilities, and people in or approaching retirement. The SSA needs this information to make informed decisions about policies and programs that will affect older or disabled Americans. This information will also be used to aid officials in making decisions on legislation.

How is my retirement plan/health/marital status relevant?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the information you provide to make informed decisions about policies and programs - like adjusting the age for retirement benefits, assessing people’s ability to save for retirement, estimating the number of legally eligible people for Social Security divorce benefits, and evaluating and modifying the disability criteria for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility. SSI is the income source of last resort for individuals who are elderly or severely disabled. As the economic situation in the U.S. is constantly changing, the information you provide in this interview is used to assess the effectiveness and further need for policy and program reforms.

Some of these questions are very personal; how do I know the government isn't going to use this information to deport me or take away my benefits?

Your information is protected under Title 13 Section 9 of the U.S. Code, which includes all of the following:

  • Data from individuals, households, and establishments must be kept confidential
  • Data must be used only for statistical purposes 
  • Data must not be distributed in a manner that could be used to identify a respondent
  • Data provided to the Census Bureau by individuals and establishments cannot be used in a court of law

In addition to removing any personally identifiable information, anyone with access to the information must sign a Sworn Affidavit of Nondisclosure, which obligates confidentiality. Violation is punishable with penalties of 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Additionally, data access is restricted and prior to the release of any data, all products must meet the Disclosure Review Board standards, ensuring the protection of your privacy. Not only is personally identifiable information not released, but neither is any information that may lead to your identification through a combination of any of the answers you provided. Our modifications maintain the integrity of the data while preventing you from being identified.

How will this survey benefit me?

Although it may be difficult to see how the results of the survey will benefit you directly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use the information to help establish policy relating to Social Security retirement and disability programs and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. SSI is the income source of last resort for individuals who are elderly or severely disabled. The SSA will be able to use the results to help evaluate programs and develop policies that are designed to aid all Americans, whether they are of retirement age or disabled now or will be in the future.

How much time will the survey take?

We estimate that an adult interview will take about 20 to 30 minutes and a child’s interview will take 5 to 10 minutes. The interview may be shorter or longer depending on each person’s circumstances and age.


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