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March 3, 2009

Social Security Research

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Social Science Research Network (SSRN): A Guide to Starting Social Security Benefits: Richard L. Kaplan :University of Illinois College of Law: Journal of Retirement Planning, July-August 2008 : U Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE08-025 : Abstract:  When a person should begin taking Social Security retirement benefits is a critical question for planning one’s retirement. This article explains the various factors at play in determining the optimum starting point, including: longevity considerations; spousal implications, whether for a previously employed or a previously unemployed spouse; the impact of post-retirement employment; the availability of health insurance prior to Medicare eligibility for the worker and the worker’s spouse; alternative sources of retirement income, including distributions from retirement savings plan assets and lifetime liquidation of nonretirement assets (and the pertinent income tax ramifications); and anticipated investment strategies.
National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA): Double Dipping Social Security: Excerpt: “The current Social Security system allows individuals to claim reduced, early retirement benefits beginning at age 62.  Individuals who wait until the full retirement age to collect receive about 30 percent more in monthly benefits.  If they wait until age 70 to collect, their benefits will be about 60 percent larger than at age 62. So what choice should people make?
Assuming a normal life expectancy and using the interest rate on government bonds, the actuarial present value of lifetime benefits are the same for those taking early retirement as for those waiting to take benefits at a later age.  Of course, if one’s life expectancy is not normal (either because of illness or particularly good genes), one retirement age will look more attractive than another.  Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds:  You can retire at age 62, then pay back and reapply for Social Security benefits at age 70 if you come to regret your earlier decision.” The document also addressed topics such as Is Double-Dipping Legitimate?  and Should younger retirees consider taking their benefits early, banking the money, repaying at age 70, and reapplying at age 70?   
The Womens Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) published a chart , highlighting the benefits of waiting until retirement age to start taking social security benefits. Though you may start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, you have to wait until full retirement age to receive full benefits. Find out how much your benefits will increase if you work beyond that age” ( WISER). The chart is available here (http://www.wiserwomen.org/pdf_files/retirementage.pdf) :
Center for Retirement Research at Boston College) Strange, but True: Unusual Strategies for Claiming Social Security Benefits (PDF) : Social Security offers three distinct types of benefits for retired workers and/or their spouses: 1) the basic retirement worker benefit, which is determined by how long an indi­vidual works and how much he earns; 2) a spousal benefit, which provides a worker’s spouse with a benefit once the worker has claimed his own benefit; and 3) a survivor benefit, which provides a surviving spouse with a benefit after a worker’s death
June 2008: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College : Are People Claiming Social Security Benefits Later? (PDF) :Today, the retirement income system — compris­ing Social Security and employer-sponsored pension plans — is contracting. To compensate, people need to work longer to ensure an adequate income over many years throughout retirement. A few additional years in the labor force can make a big difference. Working longer directly increases current income; it avoids the actuarial reduction in Social Security benefits; it allows people to contribute more to their 401(k) plans; and it shortens the period of retirement. This brief analyzes trends in claim behavior over time using SSA data for both claim year and cohort distributions. It finds that the cohort data, unlike the claim year data, show that the share of people claim­ing Social Security retirement benefits when they attain age 62 has been falling since the mid-1990s. This decline in people claiming early benefits found in cohort data is fully consistent with the increase in labor force participation at older ages.
April 2008: Social Security AdministrationL Annual Statistical Supplement, 2007: The Supplement has been published annually since 1940. Decisions affecting the future of Social Security are facilitated by the availability of relevant data over a long period. The data provide a base for research, policy analysis, and proposals for changing the programs. In addition to meeting the Social Security Administration’s information needs, the Supplement strengthens the agency’s ability to respond to requests for program data from congressional committees, government agencies at all levels, and the research community.
The Supplement is prepared by Social Security Administration staff from various components throughout the agency and by many individuals from other federal agencies. I would like to express my thanks to them for their contributions. The inside cover includes a list of the persons and agencies contributing to this edition.
February 2008: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: How the Income Tax Treatment of Saving and Social Security Benefits May Affect Boomers’ Retirement Incomes : Barbara A. Butrica, Karen E. Smith, and Eric J. Toder : For executive summary in PDF: For full paper in PDF
February 2008: The National Academy of Social Insurance Social Security: An Essential Asset and Insurance Protection for All ( Experts Assess the Value to Retirees, Working Families, and Communities of Color). [download PDF] —– Press Release
November 2007: Women, Marriage, and Social Security Benefits Revisited (PDF): Introduced into the Social Security program in 1939, spouse and survivor benefits have important implications for the retirement experience of women. At the end of 2005, 12.9 million women Social Security beneficiaries aged 62 or older (59 percent) received at least part of their benefit as wives or widows of entitled workers.” (U.S. Social Security Administration)

Written By

Denise Appleby

Denise is CEO of Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc., a firm that provides IRA resources for financial/ tax/legal professionals. She has over 20 years of experience in the retirement plans field, which includes training and technical consultation.

Denise writes and publishes educational /marketing tools for advisors; available at http://irapublications.com. Denise co-authored several books on IRAs

Denise is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School, where she obtained a Masters of Jurisprudence in Employee Benefits, and has earned 5 professional retirement designations.
She has appeared on numerous media programs, sharing her insights on retirement tax laws.

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