Working and Claiming Behavior at Social Security's Early Eligibility Age Among Men by Lifetime Earnings Decile

by Hilary Waldron
ORES Working Paper No. 115 (released September 2020)
Table equivalent for Chart 1. Odds of various work and claiming behaviors, by lifetime earnings decile: Men claiming at age 62 and 0–2 months
Decile Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Ceased work prior to claiming (not working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
1 4.861 5.567 4.245
2 2.710 3.120 2.354
3 1.643 1.907 1.416
4 1.647 1.912 1.420
5 1.821 2.109 1.572
6 2.465 2.841 2.139
7 2.583 2.975 2.242
8 2.451 2.826 2.127
9 1.975 2.284 1.708
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
  Panel B: Ceased work and claimed around the same time (working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
1 0.544 0.713 0.414
2 2.332 2.846 1.910
3 2.929 3.555 2.412
4 2.946 3.577 2.427
5 2.980 3.616 2.455
6 2.930 3.557 2.413
7 2.561 3.119 2.103
8 2.740 3.332 2.254
9 1.778 2.187 1.446
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
  Panel C: Worked after claiming (working at age 63)
1 0.354 0.492 0.255
2 1.475 1.845 1.179
3 1.522 1.901 1.219
4 1.341 1.683 1.068
5 1.076 1.366 0.848
6 1.115 1.412 0.880
7 1.007 1.282 0.791
8 1.030 1.310 0.810
9 0.984 1.255 0.772
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTES: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers born in 1942–1944 who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Odds ratios measure the predicted odds relative to decile 10 that a worker will exhibit a particular working and claiming behavior. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Odds of various work and claiming behaviors, by lifetime earnings decile: Men claiming at age 62 and 3–11 months
Decile Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Ceased work prior to claiming (not working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
1 11.508 17.010 7.786
2 4.526 6.843 2.994
3 2.383 3.717 1.527
4 1.578 2.540 0.980
5 1.360 2.221 0.833
6 1.433 2.328 0.882
7 0.999 1.690 0.590
8 1.324 2.168 0.808
9 1.614 2.593 1.004
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
  Panel B: Ceased work and claimed around the same time (working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
1 0.419 0.717 0.244
2 1.844 2.661 1.277
3 2.684 3.797 1.897
4 3.113 4.376 2.214
5 2.590 3.671 1.828
6 2.543 3.607 1.793
7 2.331 3.320 1.636
8 1.751 2.536 1.209
9 1.843 2.660 1.277
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
  Panel C: Worked after claiming (working at age 63)
1 0.402 0.707 0.228
2 2.325 3.353 1.613
3 3.311 4.698 2.334
4 2.526 3.627 1.759
5 2.854 4.074 1.999
6 2.702 3.867 1.888
7 2.100 3.046 1.449
8 2.551 3.661 1.777
9 2.325 3.352 1.612
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTES: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers born in 1942–1944 who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Odds ratios measure the predicted odds relative to decile 10 that a worker will exhibit a particular working and claiming behavior. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Odds of various work and claiming behaviors, by lifetime earnings decile: Men not claiming at age 62
Decile Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Worked at age 63
1 0.033 0.039 0.028
2 0.191 0.213 0.172
3 0.356 0.395 0.321
4 0.428 0.474 0.386
5 0.444 0.492 0.401
6 0.391 0.433 0.352
7 0.400 0.443 0.361
8 0.416 0.461 0.375
9 0.554 0.615 0.500
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
  Panel B: Did not work at age 63
1 8.418 9.744 7.272
2 2.884 3.367 2.470
3 1.359 1.612 1.146
4 0.970 1.164 0.808
5 0.848 1.023 0.703
6 0.672 0.819 0.550
7 0.919 1.105 0.764
8 0.798 0.966 0.660
9 0.839 1.013 0.695
10 1.000 1.000 1.000
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTES: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers born in 1942–1944 who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Odds ratios measure the predicted odds relative to decile 10 that a worker will exhibit a particular working and claiming behavior. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.
Table equivalent for Chart 4. Prevalence of various work and claiming behaviors among fully insured men, by lifetime earnings decile: Men claiming at age 62 and 0–2 months
Decile 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
  Panel A: Ceased work prior to claiming (not working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
All 22.453 22.337 21.750 21.488 21.765 20.896 20.833 19.858
1 38.072 35.915 37.661 39.418 39.016 35.143 36.910 35.833
2 25.958 27.380 25.731 26.652 27.462 23.928 25.162 22.395
3–5 17.395 17.260 16.186 15.913 17.280 17.212 16.559 15.552
6–8 23.280 24.119 22.543 23.488 21.400 22.840 22.109 22.298
9 23.115 21.362 23.041 19.149 20.897 18.476 19.796 17.429
10 15.347 14.571 14.871 11.435 14.223 11.249 10.453 9.357
  Panel B: Ceased work and claimed around the same time (working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
All 14.775 14.328 13.923 13.130 11.375 10.796 10.176 9.369
1 3.832 5.516 3.977 4.143 2.295 3.333 2.128 2.532
2 15.204 14.101 13.801 10.414 11.597 12.011 10.638 8.763
3–6, 8 17.384 16.960 16.472 16.248 14.461 13.208 12.710 12.271
7 19.778 16.549 18.267 16.013 12.459 11.905 12.766 9.445
9 13.968 13.146 12.398 12.542 9.409 9.429 8.048 7.108
10 8.045 9.166 8.431 6.951 5.689 5.243 4.625 4.483
  Panel C: Worked after claiming (working at age 63)
All 7.258 6.483 5.370 5.333 5.633 5.307 4.746 4.022
1 3.214 3.052 2.690 2.912 2.623 1.905 1.850 a
2–4 8.694 7.948 7.176 6.983 7.109 6.798 6.167 a
5–10 7.214 6.322 4.914 4.911 5.397 5.129 4.517 3.799
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
a. Suppressed because of small sample size.
Table equivalent for Chart 5. Prevalence of various work and claiming behaviors among fully insured men, by lifetime earnings decile: Men claiming at age 62 and 3–11 months
Decile 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
  Panel A: Ceased work prior to claiming (not working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
All 2.090 2.114 2.293 2.039 2.297 2.611 2.202 2.259
1 9.394 10.446 11.228 6.271 7.104 9.619 9.898 8.471
2 4.326 3.643 3.509 2.912 4.267 3.908 3.515 4.284
3 0.989 1.526 1.754 1.906 2.516 2.476 1.943 1.850
4–9 0.845 0.861 0.897 1.438 1.367 1.493 0.971 1.217
10 1.114 0.353 1.054 0.673 0.875 1.144 0.833 0.682
  Panel B: Ceased work and claimed around the same time (working at age 61 and not working at age 63)
All 3.091 3.206 3.744 3.294 2.964 3.049 2.664 2.737
1 1.731 1.174 1.053 1.008 0.328 0.762 0.648 0.389
2–9 3.369 3.597 4.256 3.809 3.500 3.502 3.122 3.177
10 2.225 2.113 2.339 1.457 1.313 1.714 1.018 1.558
  Panel C: Worked after claiming (working at age 63)
All 4.142 3.523 3.498 3.518 3.194 2.830 2.951 2.863
2–9 4.497 3.817 3.905 4.019 3.705 3.311 3.446 3.348
1, 10 2.721 2.349 1.872 1.513 1.148 0.905 0.971 0.925
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Table equivalent for Chart 6. Prevalence of various work and claiming behaviors among fully insured men, by lifetime earnings decile: Men not claiming at age 62
Decile 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
  Panel A: Worked at age 63
All 37.438 39.119 39.628 40.309 41.562 43.068 44.459 45.462
1 10.136 11.385 9.591 9.071 8.306 8.381 6.475 5.648
2 27.194 25.969 27.719 27.660 27.133 29.457 30.157 29.309
3 37.824 39.671 39.883 42.265 37.527 43.905 43.848 44.206
4–5 40.445 42.161 44.061 43.473 46.364 45.879 50.046 51.096
6–8 38.978 40.838 42.005 40.926 45.097 46.125 46.438 48.458
9 44.623 46.948 46.784 49.048 51.094 52.667 55.689 56.670
10 56.807 60.400 58.197 65.359 63.567 66.158 69.010 71.248
  Panel B: Did not work at age 63
All 8.754 8.890 9.793 10.890 11.211 11.444 11.970 13.430
1 31.768 30.634 32.865 36.058 39.563 40.571 41.351 45.570
2 15.822 15.041 15.556 18.253 17.287 18.398 19.056 23.272
3 8.405 9.155 9.708 9.978 10.175 9.333 10.546 12.171
4, 5, 7–9 4.303 5.049 5.289 6.319 6.299 6.593 6.938 7.908
6 4.326 3.525 5.497 5.487 5.580 5.624 5.088 6.037
10 5.693 5.288 7.845 7.511 7.987 7.531 8.973 7.700
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Table equivalent for Chart 7. Distributions of fully insured men by working and claiming category and year of birth: Each lifetime earnings decile
Category 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
  Decile 1
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.475 0.464 0.489 0.457 0.461 0.448 0.468 0.443
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.056 0.067 0.050 0.052 0.026 0.041 0.028 0.029
Worked after claiming 0.051 0.049 0.036 0.040 0.034 0.022 0.026 0.016
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.318 0.306 0.329 0.361 0.396 0.406 0.414 0.456
Working at age 63 0.101 0.114 0.096 0.091 0.083 0.084 0.065 0.056
  Decile 2
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.303 0.310 0.292 0.296 0.317 0.278 0.287 0.267
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.178 0.177 0.172 0.139 0.144 0.140 0.136 0.116
Worked after claiming 0.089 0.102 0.103 0.106 0.094 0.103 0.085 0.092
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.158 0.150 0.156 0.183 0.173 0.184 0.191 0.233
Working at age 63 0.272 0.260 0.277 0.277 0.271 0.295 0.302 0.293
  Decile 3
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.171 0.182 0.180 0.182 0.219 0.191 0.171 0.179
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.200 0.200 0.204 0.182 0.178 0.171 0.171 0.154
Worked after claiming 0.167 0.130 0.120 0.114 0.126 0.105 0.114 0.103
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.084 0.092 0.097 0.100 0.102 0.093 0.105 0.122
Working at age 63 0.378 0.397 0.399 0.423 0.375 0.439 0.438 0.442
  Decile 4
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.161 0.196 0.166 0.170 0.176 0.193 0.172 0.157
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.201 0.204 0.235 0.211 0.200 0.172 0.172 0.172
Worked after claiming 0.143 0.128 0.112 0.110 0.109 0.101 0.095 0.074
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.049 0.067 0.053 0.067 0.063 0.076 0.077 0.083
Working at age 63 0.445 0.404 0.433 0.442 0.451 0.459 0.484 0.514
  Decile 5
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.220 0.173 0.177 0.172 0.171 0.190 0.194 0.173
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.235 0.234 0.230 0.229 0.204 0.198 0.141 0.161
Worked after claiming 0.147 0.110 0.090 0.099 0.098 0.090 0.080 0.080
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.033 0.045 0.055 0.074 0.051 0.063 0.068 0.078
Working at age 63 0.364 0.439 0.448 0.427 0.476 0.459 0.517 0.508
  Decile 6
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.237 0.234 0.199 0.232 0.229 0.238 0.218 0.247
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.244 0.202 0.215 0.198 0.177 0.170 0.172 0.149
Worked after claiming 0.104 0.096 0.115 0.092 0.096 0.088 0.090 0.072
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.043 0.035 0.055 0.055 0.056 0.056 0.051 0.060
Working at age 63 0.372 0.432 0.416 0.423 0.442 0.448 0.469 0.471
  Decile 7
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.230 0.257 0.237 0.268 0.245 0.250 0.225 0.242
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.235 0.202 0.227 0.184 0.151 0.152 0.159 0.128
Worked after claiming 0.119 0.103 0.102 0.095 0.099 0.083 0.077 0.054
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.033 0.053 0.044 0.055 0.058 0.065 0.085 0.074
Working at age 63 0.383 0.385 0.390 0.399 0.447 0.450 0.454 0.502
  Decile 8
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.255 0.255 0.267 0.252 0.217 0.235 0.243 0.219
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.171 0.190 0.167 0.195 0.163 0.144 0.145 0.148
Worked after claiming 0.117 0.109 0.068 0.087 0.088 0.078 0.080 0.075
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.043 0.038 0.044 0.059 0.069 0.058 0.061 0.078
Working at age 63 0.414 0.408 0.454 0.406 0.464 0.485 0.470 0.480
  Decile 9
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.239 0.225 0.239 0.204 0.221 0.205 0.212 0.183
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.164 0.164 0.158 0.170 0.120 0.127 0.104 0.093
Worked after claiming 0.095 0.090 0.068 0.075 0.074 0.074 0.071 0.074
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.056 0.050 0.068 0.060 0.073 0.068 0.056 0.083
Working at age 63 0.446 0.469 0.468 0.490 0.511 0.527 0.557 0.567
  Decile 10
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 0.165 0.149 0.159 0.121 0.151 0.124 0.113 0.100
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 0.103 0.113 0.108 0.084 0.070 0.070 0.056 0.060
Worked after claiming 0.108 0.081 0.073 0.066 0.063 0.070 0.051 0.050
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 0.057 0.053 0.078 0.075 0.080 0.075 0.090 0.077
Working at age 63 0.568 0.604 0.582 0.654 0.636 0.662 0.690 0.712
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Table equivalent for Chart 8. Odds of dying at ages 64–66 and 67–71 for fully insured men in various working and claiming categories, before and after controlling for lifetime earnings
Category Before controlling for lifetime earnings decile After controlling for lifetime earnings decile
Point estimate Confidence interval Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Ages 64–66
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 2.133 2.389 1.905 1.732 1.950 1.539
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 1.529 1.769 1.322 1.430 1.655 1.235
Worked after claiming 1.306 1.611 1.059 1.189 1.468 0.964
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 1.832 2.119 1.584 1.222 1.430 1.044
Working at age 63 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000
  Panel B: Ages 67–71
Claiming at age 62 and—
Ceased work before claiming 1.746 1.966 1.551 1.527 1.726 1.351
Ceased work and claimed around the same time 1.443 1.664 1.252 1.335 1.541 1.157
Worked after claiming 1.359 1.654 1.118 1.242 1.512 1.021
Not claiming at age 62 and—
Not working at age 63 1.564 1.835 1.333 1.188 1.409 1.002
Working at age 63 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000 1.000
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTES: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Odds ratios are measured relative to men not claiming at age 62 and still working at age 63. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.
Table equivalent for Chart A-1. Percentage of fully insured men working at age 61, by lifetime earnings decile and year of birth
Decile 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
All 66.481 66.753 67.263 66.177 65.044 64.450 65.227 65.329
1 19.283 21.948 17.895 18.477 13.989 15.238 11.656 10.321
2 53.399 53.819 58.012 51.736 50.219 51.859 51.526 50.049
3 73.795 73.592 73.801 70.067 68.271 70.952 72.155 71.762
4–5 76.376 75.925 78.584 76.751 76.654 73.749 74.977 76.279
6–8 71.858 71.222 71.607 70.463 71.491 69.250 71.230 69.685
9 70.952 73.005 72.398 74.804 72.210 71.810 72.988 75.365
10 79.084 79.671 78.571 81.839 78.009 79.409 80.296 84.211
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Table equivalent for Chart A-2. Fully insured men ceasing work and claiming around the same time at age 62 and 0–2 months, by lifetime earnings decile, as a percentage of—
Decile 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
  Panel A: All fully insured men in the decile
All 14.775 14.328 13.923 13.130 11.375 10.796 10.176 9.369
1 3.832 5.516 3.977 4.143 2.295 3.333 2.128 2.532
2 15.204 14.101 13.801 10.414 11.597 12.011 10.638 8.763
3–6, 8 17.384 16.960 16.472 16.248 14.461 13.208 12.710 12.271
7 19.778 16.549 18.267 16.013 12.459 11.905 12.766 9.445
9 13.968 13.146 12.398 12.542 9.409 9.429 8.048 7.108
10 8.045 9.166 8.431 6.951 5.689 5.243 4.625 4.483
  Panel B: All fully insured men working at age 61 in the decile
All 22.224 21.464 20.699 19.841 17.488 16.750 15.601 14.341
1–2 26.190 25.891 23.421 20.734 21.635 22.869 20.205 18.710
3–8 24.133 23.081 22.572 22.360 19.438 18.288 17.512 16.337
9 19.686 18.006 17.124 16.766 13.030 13.130 11.027 9.432
10 10.172 11.504 10.730 8.493 7.293 6.603 5.760 5.324
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTES: Panel A replicates Chart 4, Panel B.
Sample is restricted to fully insured workers who lived to age 64. Excludes disabled-worker beneficiaries.
Table equivalent for Chart B-1. Odds of not claiming at age 62 and not working at age 63 for men born in 1937 or 1938
Decile Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Unrestricted sample
1 7.87 9.96 6.27
2 3.20 4.10 2.49
3 1.69 2.20 1.29
4 1.09 1.46 0.81
5 0.71 0.98 0.51
6 0.71 0.98 0.51
7 0.77 1.10 0.56
8 0.74 1.02 0.54
9 0.97 1.31 0.72
10 1.00 1.00 1.00
  Panel B: Among workers who died or claimed by age 70
1 5.35 6.86 4.12
2 2.70 3.55 2.11
3 1.48 1.97 1.12
4 1.01 1.37 0.75
5 0.61 0.86 0.43
6 0.62 0.88 0.44
7 0.63 0.89 0.45
8 0.70 0.97 0.50
9 0.96 1.30 0.70
10 1.00 1.00 1.00
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Odds ratios are measured relative to decile 10. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.
Table equivalent for Chart B-2. Odds of not claiming at age 62 and not working at age 63 for men born in 1941 or 1942
Decile Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Unrestricted sample
1 8.06 9.70 6.68
2 2.61 3.19 2.13
3 1.30 1.62 1.04
4 0.89 1.13 0.70
5 0.74 0.95 0.58
6 0.71 0.92 0.55
7 0.76 0.98 0.60
8 0.80 1.03 0.63
9 0.90 1.15 0.71
10 1.00 1.00 1.00
  Panel B: Among workers who died or claimed by age 66
1 5.15 6.35 4.18
2 2.06 2.57 1.65
3 1.15 1.46 0.90
4 0.84 1.09 0.65
5 0.61 0.81 0.46
6 0.66 0.87 0.50
7 0.63 0.84 0.48
8 0.78 1.00 0.60
9 0.87 1.12 0.67
10 1.00 1.00 1.00
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Odds ratios are measured relative to decile 10. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.
Table equivalent for Chart B-3. Odds of not claiming at age 62 and not working at age 63 for men born in 1943 or 1944
Decile Point estimate Confidence interval
Upper bound Lower bound
  Panel A: Unrestricted sample
1 8.55 10.20 7.16
2 2.96 3.56 2.45
3 1.43 1.75 1.17
4 0.97 1.21 0.78
5 0.84 1.05 0.67
6 0.65 0.83 0.51
7 0.92 1.14 0.73
8 0.85 1.06 0.68
9 0.81 1.02 0.65
10 1.00 1.00 1.00
  Panel B: Among workers who died or claimed by age 66
1 2.45 3.69 1.63
2 1.36 2.08 0.88
3 0.87 1.39 0.55
4 0.58 0.96 0.35
5 0.83 1.32 0.52
6 0.53 0.87 0.32
7 0.89 1.41 0.56
8 0.70 1.13 0.43
9 0.58 0.98 0.35
10 1.00 1.00 1.00
SOURCE: Author's calculations using Social Security administrative data (see Waldron 2020).
NOTE: Odds ratios are measured relative to decile 10. Error bars indicate confidence intervals.