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Why Do Married Men Claim Social Security Benefits So Early? Ignorance or Caddishness?


  • Steven A. Sass


  • Wei Sun
  • Anthony Webb

    (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College)


Most married men claim Social Security benefits at age 62 or 63, well short of both Social Security’s Full Retirement Age and the age that maximizes the household’s expected present value of benefits (EPVB). This results in a loss of less than 4 percent in household EPBV. But essentially the entire loss is borne by the survivor benefit, falls nearly 20 percent. As many elderly widows have very low incomes, early claiming by married men is a major social problem.

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  • Steven A. Sass & Wei Sun & Anthony Webb, 2007. "Why Do Married Men Claim Social Security Benefits So Early? Ignorance or Caddishness?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-17, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2007-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
    2. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Jeffrey R. Brown & James M. Poterba, 1999. "Joint Life Annuities and Annuity Demand by Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 7199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Manser, Marilyn & Brown, Murray, 1980. "Marriage and Household Decision-Making: A Bargaining Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 21(1), pages 31-44, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Theodore Figinski & David Neumark, 2015. "Does Eliminating the Earnings Test Increase the Incidence of Low Income Among Older Women?," NBER Working Papers 21601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Даниелян, Владимир, 2016. "Детерминанты Пенсионного Возраста: Обзор Исследований
      [Determinants of Retirement Age: A Review of Research]
      ," MPRA Paper 73865, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. John Shoven & Sita Slavov, 2013. "Recent Changes In The Gains From Delaying Social Security," Discussion Papers 13-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    4. Natalia Zhivan & Steven A. Sass & Margarita Sapozhnikov & Kelly Haverstick, 2008. "An "Elastic" Earliest Eligibility Age for Social Security," Issues in Brief ib2008-8-2, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2008.
    5. Philip Armour & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "The Effect of Social Security Information on the Labor Supply and Savings of Older Americans," Working Papers wp361, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    6. Wei Sun & Anthony Webb, 2009. "How Much Do Households Really Lose By Claiming Social Security at Age 62?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-11, Center for Retirement Research, revised Apr 2009.

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