Construction of the Earnings and Benefits File (EBF) for Use With the Health and Retirement Survey

Working paper number: 
96-03
Paper Abstract: 
This paper documents the Earnings and Benefits File (EBF). The EBF is a restricted dataset created for researchers working with the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) under a set of limited access conditions. The EBF and all derived variables contained therein are intended for research purposes only, by registered users of the public use file of the Health and Retirement Survey, and may be linked only with HRS files containing no geographic detail below the Census Division level. Details on the rationale for, and definitions of, constructed employment, earnings, and social security wealth variables in the EBF are provided, as well as a bibliography for those wishing additional information on the rules by which social security earnings data are used in calculating benefits. The EBF contains information derived for respondents of the 1992 Health and Retirement Survey who authorized the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research to obtain administrative records from the Social Security Administration. The EBF is described below, first in conceptual terms in Part I, and then in more technical detail in Part II. Appendices contain a detailed layout of variables and codebook for the data file along with additional descriptive statistics.