Perspectives—Paper Submission Guidelines

The Social Security Bulletin is the quarterly research journal of the Social Security Administration. It has a diverse readership of policymakers, government officials, academics, graduate and undergraduate students, business people, and other interested parties.

To promote the discussion of research questions and policy issues related to Social Security and the economic well being of the aged, the Bulletin welcomes submissions from researchers and analysts outside the agency for publication in its Perspectives section.

We are particularly interested in papers that:

  • assess the Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability programs and the economic security of the aged;
  • evaluate changing economic, demographic, health, and social factors affecting work/retirement decisions and retirement savings;
  • consider the uncertainties that individuals and households face in preparing for and during retirement and the tools available to manage such uncertainties; and
  • measure the changing characteristics and economic circumstances of SSI recipients.

Papers should be factual and analytical, not polemical. Technical or mathematical exposition is welcome, if relevant, but findings and conclusions must be written in an accessible, nontechnical style. In addition, the relevance of the paper's conclusions to public policy should be explicitly stated.

Submitting a Paper

Authors should submit papers for consideration via e-mail to Michael V. Leonesio, Perspectives Editor, at To send your paper via regular mail, address it to:

Social Security Bulletin
Perspectives Editor
Social Security Administration
Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics
250 E Street SW, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20254-0001

We regard the submission of a paper as your implied commitment not to submit it to another publication while it is under consideration by the Bulletin. If you have published a related paper elsewhere, please state that in your cover letter.

Disclosures—Authors are expected to disclose in their cover letter any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from their employment, consulting or political activities, financial interests, or other affiliations.

Copyright—Authors are responsible for obtaining written permission to publish any material for which they do not own the copyright.

Formatting Guidelines

To facilitate the editorial process, papers submitted for publication must be prepared in Microsoft Word (except for tables and charts—see below) and be formatted as outlined below.

  • Title Page—Papers must include a title page with the paper's title, name(s) of author(s), affiliation(s), address(es), including the name, postal address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers of a contact person. Any Acknowledgments paragraph should also be on this page. In the Acknowledgments, reveal the source of any financial or research support received in connection with the preparation of the paper.
  • Synopsis—For the Bulletin's table of contents include a separate synopsis, including the title of the paper along with one to three sentences outlining the research question.
  • Abstract—Prepare a brief, nontechnical abstract of the paper of not more than 150 words that states the purpose of the research, methodology, and main findings and conclusions. This abstract will be used in the Bulletin and, if appropriate, be submitted to the Journal of Economic Literature for indexing. Below the abstract supply the JEL classification code and two to six keywords. JEL classification codes can be found at
  • Text—Papers should average 10,000 words, including the text, the notes, and the references (but excluding the tables and charts). Text is double-spaced, except notes and references, which are double spaced only after each entry. Do not embed tables or charts into the text. Create separate files (in the formats outlined in "Tables/Charts" below) for the text and statistical material. Tables should be in one file, with one table per page. Include charts in a separate file, with one chart per page.
  • End Notes—Number notes consecutively in the text using superscripts. Only use notes for brief substantive comments, not citations. (See the Chicago Manual of Style for guidance on the use of citations.) All notes should be grouped together and start on a new page at the end of the paper.
  • References—Verify each reference carefully; the references must correspond to the citations in the text. The list of references should start on a new page and be listed alphabetically by the last name of the author(s) and then by year, chronologically. Only the first author's name is inverted. List all authors' full names and avoid using et al. The name of each author and the title of the citation should be exactly as it appears in the original work.
  • Tables/Charts—Tables must be prepared in Microsoft Excel. Charts or other graphics must be prepared in or exported to Excel or Adobe Illustrator. The spreadsheet with plotting data must be attached to each chart with the final submission. Make sure all tables and charts are referenced in the text. Give each table and chart a title and number consecutive with the order it is mentioned in the text. Notes for tables and charts are independent of Notes in the rest of the paper and should be ordered using lowercase letters, beginning with the letter a (including the Source note, which should be listed first). The sequence runs from left to right, top to bottom. The order of the notes as they appear below the tables or charts is (1) Source, (2) general notes to the table or chart, if any, and (3) letter notes.

For specific questions on formatting, use the Chicago Manual of Style as a guide for notes, citations, references, and table presentation.

Review Process

Papers that appear to be suitable for publication in Perspectives are sent to three reviewers who are subject matter experts. The reviewers assess the paper's technical merits, provide substantive comments, and recommend whether the paper should be published. An editorial review committee appointed and chaired by the Associate Commissioner, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, makes the final decision on whether the paper is of sufficient quality, importance, and interest to publish, subject to any required revisions that are specified in a letter to the author(s). The entire review process takes approximately 12 weeks.

Data Availability Policy

If your paper is accepted for publication, you will be asked to make your data available to others at a reasonable cost for a period of 3 years (starting 6 months after actual publication). Should you want to request an exception from this requirement, you must notify the Perspectives Editor when you submit your paper. For example, the use of confidential or proprietary data sets could prompt an exemption request. If you do not request an exemption, we will assume that you have accepted this requirement.


Questions regarding the mechanics of submitting a paper should be sent to our editorial staff via e-mail at For other questions regarding submissions, please contact Michael V. Leonesio, Perspectives Editor, at