Pre-COVID Trends in Social Security Claiming

IB#21-9

The brief’s key findings are:

  • This study provides a pre-COVID baseline on Social Security claiming.
  • The percentage of all initial claimants who are age 62 shows a steady decline over the past two decades, interrupted only briefly by the Great Recession.
  • However, a better metric to capture claiming behavior over time – when the population is aging – is the share of all workers turning age 62 who claim at 62.
  • This measure, based on unpublished Social Security data, shows a steeper drop, with just 1 in 4 claiming at 62 in 2019.
  • In addition, workers who delay are claiming in their mid-60s or later, which is good news for their retirement security.