Would Greater Awareness of Social Security Survivor Benefits Affect Claiming Decisions?
Most Americans enter retirement as married couples, and one spouse, typically the wife, outlives the other. Many widows lack the income needed to maintain the standard of living they had when their husbands were alive. Widows would generally have more adequate incomes if their husbands, who are typically the higher earner in the couple, delayed claiming Social Security. This project uses the Health and Retirement Study to test the extent to which husbands consider their wives’ well-being as widows when making claiming decisions. It then uses an online experiment to determine whether raising a husband’s awareness of the risks that his widow faces, and how delayed claiming can reduce those risks, affect his claiming behavior.