Source description last updated: 3 August 2020

This source description focuses on the Social Security Programs Throughout the World (SSPTW) reports.

In brief:  The US Social Security Administration is an independent US federal government agency that administers retirement, disability and survivor benefits. It publishes the report Social Security Programs Throughout the World (SSPTW).

Coverage on

Social Security Programs Throughout the World

Covered monthly on for countries of priorities A–E (all available countries).


The US Social Security Administration (SSA) manages Social Security, the US retirement, disability, and survivors benefits programme.

“Social Security is committed to helping maintain the basic well-being and protection” of Americans. “We pay benefits to about 64 million people including retirees, children, widows, and widowers.” (SSA website: About Us, undated)

Social Security Programs Throughout the World (SSPTW) is a “biannual publication highlighting the principal features of social security programs in more than 170 countries. Published in collaboration with the International Social Security Association, one of four regional volumes [is] issued every six months.” The regional volumes cover Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Americas, respectively. (SSA website: Social Security Programs Throughout the World, undated)


“Tax revenue […] represents SSA’s largest financing source. Additional financing sources consist of interest revenue from the Trust Fund investments, taxation on benefits, drawdown of funds for benefit entitlement payments and administrative expenses, appropriations, gifts, and other miscellaneous receipts.” (SSA: Agency Financial Report; Fiscal Year 2019, 2019, p. 52)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: Over 170 countries in Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and the Americas

Thematic focus: benefits relating to old age, disability and survivors, sickness and maternity, work injury and unemployment, and family allowances (with information on regulatory framework, coverage, source of funds, qualifying conditions, benefits and administrative organisation)


Most of the information in the SSPTW reports is “collated from the Social Security Programs Throughout the World survey conducted by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) in partnership with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).” This information is “supplemented by data collected by the ISSA. Empirical data [is] provided by numerous social security institutions throughout the world.”

As the SSA further explains, “during the compilation process, international analysts at both SSA and the ISSA examine[…] the material for factual errors, ambiguous statements, and contradictions” (see, for example, SSA: Social Security Programs Throughout the World: The Americas, 2019, p. 1)

Language(s) of publications:


All links accessed 3 August 2020.