The Impact of Temporary Assistance Programs on Social Security Claiming Age
Delaying claiming past the early eligibility age of 62 has taken on increased importance. Individuals turning 62 with no job and limited income may be able to use temporary assistance programs such as Unemployment Insurance (UI), Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as sources of support prior to collecting Social Security benefits. To what extent do these programs allow recipients to delay Social Security claiming? The challenge in answering this question stems from the fact that program users’ dire economic straits may make them more likely to claim benefits from both Social Security and these programs, generating a misleading correlation between Social Security claiming and temporary assistance benefits. This paper constructs instruments for program generosity that vary with an individual’s state of residence but should not reflect the characteristics or circumstances of the individual.