Incentivizing Delayed Claiming of Social Security Retirement Benefits Before Reaching the Full Retirement Age

by Melissa A. Z. Knoll and Anya Olsen
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 74, No. 4, 2014
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Percentage distribution of retired-worker benefits awarded to women, by claim age, selected years 1950–2010
Year Age 62 Age 63 to FRA FRA After FRA
1950 0 0 22 78
1960 27 22 18 33
1970 38 23 27 12
1980 50 20 24 7
1990 61 19 14 6
2000 58 17 15 10
2010 55 28 11 6
SOURCE: Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2013 (SSA 2014, Table 6.B5).
NOTES: The benefits awarded in 1960 and later years do not include disability conversions at the full retirement age (FRA).
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Percentage distribution of retired-worker benefits awarded to men, by claim age, selected years 1950–2010
Year Age 62 Age 63 to FRA FRA After FRA
1950 0 0 22 78
1960 0 0 45 55
1970 21 23 44 12
1980 34 24 36 7
1990 53 21 18 7
2000 47 17 23 13
2010 49 30 16 6
SOURCE: Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2013 (SSA 2014, Table 6.B5).
NOTES: The benefits awarded in 1960 and later years do not include disability conversions at the full retirement age (FRA).
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Percentage of nondisabled beneficiaries at the age at which benefits began, by sex, 2012
Age Men Women
62 38.0 43.3
63 6.5 6.9
64 6.7 7.5
65 11.7 11.6
66 18.1 12.5
67–69 2.0 2.0
70 or later 1.1 1.7
SOURCE: Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2013 (SSA 2014, Table 6.B5).
NOTE: Because disabled beneficiaries are not included in the chart, the percentages do not sum to 100.
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Percentage distributions of nondisabled beneficiaries, by education and claim age, 2014
Education Age 62 FRA After FRA
Less than 12 years 9 5 6
High school 45 35 35
Associate's degree 22 21 18
Bachelor's degree 14 19 18
Graduate degree 9 20 22
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6 projections.
NOTES: All beneficiaries are fully insured by age 62. Rounded components of percentage distributions do not necessarily sum to 100.
FRA = full retirement age.
Table equivalent for Chart 5. Percentage distributions of nondisabled beneficiaries, by non-Social Security individual income quintile and claim age, 2014
Individual income quintile Age 62 FRA After FRA
Lowest 18 10 12
2nd lowest 20 14 15
Middle 22 18 15
2nd highest 21 22 19
Highest 18 37 39
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6 projections.
NOTES: All beneficiaries are fully insured by age 62. Rounded components of percentage distributions do not necessarily sum to 100.
FRA = full retirement age.
Table equivalent for Chart 6. Percentage distributions of nondisabled beneficiaries, by health status and claim age, 2014
Health status Age 62 FRA After FRA
Fair or poor 19 16 16
Excellent, very good, or good 81 84 84
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6 projections.
NOTES: All beneficiaries are fully insured by age 62.
FRA = full retirement age.
Table equivalent for Chart 7. Percentage distributions of nondisabled beneficiaries, by health-related work limitations and claim age, 2014
Work limit Age 62 FRA
Prevents work 9 6
Limits but does not prevent work 7 7
No limit 84 87
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6 (MINT6) projections.
NOTES: All beneficiaries are fully insured by age 62. In MINT6, health-related work limitations are only reported for individuals up to age 67; therefore, the After FRA group is not included.
Rounded components of percentage distributions do not necessarily sum to 100.
FRA = full retirement age.
Table equivalent for Chart 8. Difference in monthly benefit between current law and the change-reductions policy option for an individual with a full retirement age of 67 and an unreduced retired-worker benefit of $1,370, by claim age
Age Current law Option
62 959 959
63 1,028 1,067
64 1,096 1,177
65 1,187 1,241
66 1,278 1,306
67 1,370 1,370
SOURCE: Authors' calculations.
Table equivalent for Chart 9. Median lifetime benefit/tax ratio for beneficiaries aged 60 or older, by birth cohort
Birth cohort Scheduled benefits Change reductions alone (static) Change reductions plus more-likely behavioral response Change reductions plus best-case behavioral response
1951–1955 95.6 96.3 96.6 96.9
1956–1960 94.6 96.1 96.4 97.4
1961–1965 92.8 95.1 95.6 96.3
1966–1970 96.4 98.7 99.1 99.7
1971–1975 95.9 98.3 98.6 99.5
1976–1980 96.6 99.0 99.4 100.1
1981–1985 95.7 97.9 98.6 99.4
1986–1990 95.2 97.6 98.2 98.9
1991–1995 95.9 98.3 98.8 99.6
1996–2000 96.2 98.5 99.1 99.9
SOURCE: Authors' calculations using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6 projections.