Trends in Social Security Claiming

IB#15-8

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Over the past 25 years, the average retirement age for U.S. workers has been rising, a trend that should align with when people first claim Social Security.
  • But the percentage of all initial claimants who are age 62 shows little change until recently.
  • A better metric to capture claiming behavior over time – when the population is aging – is the percentage of workers turning age 62 who claim at 62.
  • This measure, based on unpublished Social Security data, shows a steep decline in claiming at 62 since the mid-1990s: from 56 percent to 36 percent for men.
  • In short, while more than a third of workers still claim right away, a growing number are waiting until their mid-60s or later.