Future Beneficiary Expectations of the Returns to Delayed Social Security Benefit Claiming and Choice Behavior.

Published: 2007


We report on our preliminary findings from an innovative module of survey
questions in the RAND American Life Panel designed to measure willingness to delay take-up of Social Security benefits. Among respondents who expect to stop working full time prior to turning age 62, almost two-thirds report that they expect to start claiming Social Security benefits after they turn 63—that is, they expect to delay claiming. In contrast, among those who expect to stop full-time work sometime from age 62 to age 70, only about one-quarter expect to delay claiming beyond the retirement age. Another main finding concerns reported probabilities of delayed claiming in hypothetical choice scenarios. These probabilities tend to be quite high relative to previous findings on delayed claiming outcomes. This result is particularly striking for those who are presented with information about the so-called “break-even age” for delayed claiming
rather than information about the total amount of benefits that must be foregone during
the one year delay.

Key Findings