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The Social Security Early Retirement Benefit as Safety Net

  • John Bound

    (University of Michigan and National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Timothy Waidmann

    (The Urban Institute)

In this paper we used the Health and Retirement Study to examine the health and economic status of those who collect Social Security retirement benefits prior to the full retirement age. We used a propensity score reweighting method to estimate the fraction of early retirees who use early retirement benefits as a safety net against deteriorating health and who might be induced to apply for disability benefits (SSDI) or retire without income replacement if the generosity or availability of early retirement benefits were reduced. We find that while the majority of early retirees would likely not qualify for disability benefits, approximately one in five have health characteristics similar to SSDI beneficiaries, and thus might not be able to replace losses in benefit income with labor income.

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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp240.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp240
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