UM08-21: Are Early Retirees Less Healthy? The Role of Health in Social Security Claiming Decisions



As the Social Security full retirement age rises, the relative generosity of Social Security retirement benefits compared to disability benefits is declining, raising the incentive for insured people to apply for disability benefits. After controlling for other differences in observable characteristics, such as life-time earnings, we find that an average four month increase in the FRA slightly increases the two-year DI application rate by 0.04-0.30 percentage points. The effect is greater among those with a work limiting health problem (0.22-0.89 percentage points).


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