Thursday, August 02, 2012

Who Claimed Social Security Early?

Once upon a time, the majority of older Americans claimed their Social Security benefits at the earliest possible age of 62. In 1995, fully 50.7 percent of 62-year-olds filed for Social Security. The percentage fell steeply in the ensuing years to just 37.6 percent in 2007, reports the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Then the Great Recession hit, and the percentage claiming Social Security benefits at age 62 spiked to 42.4 percent in 2009.

The CRR's examination of these Great Recession early claimers reveals that they came from all socioeconomic backgrounds as households rich and poor attempted to make up for the loss of income caused by the economic downturn. The early claimers received their benefits 10 months sooner than they would have if there had been no recession, forfeiting $94 per month in benefits--or 7.6 percent of what they would have received.

Since the spike in 2009, the percentage claiming Social Security at age 62 has fallen, reverting to the long-term downward trend. Boomers have gotten the message--the longer they wait, the bigger their benefits.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Who Claimed Social Security Early Due to the Great Recession?

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