IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Optimal Time to File for Social Security Benefits


  • Thad W. Mirer

    (State University of New York at Albany)


Under current Social Security rules, a newly retired worker can affect the age structure of benefits that he or she will receive by choosing when to file for a claim for benefits: the longer the claim is deferred, the greater the monthly benefit will be. This article examines the alternatives available to individuals and presents a life cycle model of retirement planning that determines the optimal time to file for benefits. The model is applied with the Social Security rules for 1998 and with an idealized system in which all adjustments to benefits are actuarially fair. It is shown that in many cases individuals will choose to file for benefits several years after retirement instead of immediately. The gain achieved by doing this can be substantial.

Suggested Citation

  • Thad W. Mirer, 1998. "The Optimal Time to File for Social Security Benefits," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(6), pages 611-636, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:26:y:1998:i:6:p:611-636

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Coile, Courtney & Diamond, Peter & Gruber, Jonathan & Jousten, Alain, 2002. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 357-385, June.
    2. Frank W. Heiland & Na Yin, 2014. "Have We Finally Achieved Actuarial Fairness of Social Security Retirement Benefits and Will It Last?," Working Papers wp307, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:26:y:1998:i:6:p:611-636. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.