Labor Market Shocks and Early Social Security Benefit Claiming
David Card, Nicole Maestas and Patrick Purcell
Many job-losers suffer large and persistent losses in earnings capacity. For displaced workers who are age-eligible, one reaction to these losses is to begin claiming Social Security retirement benefits. We use administrative earnings records from the Social Security Administration’s Continuous Work History Sample to study the impacts of labor market shocks among workers in their late 50’s and early 60’s on Social Security retirement benefit claiming rates. We find that labor market shocks lead to current and future increases in the fraction of insured workers who initiate Social Security benefits at the earliest possible claiming age. Moreover, once they initiate benefits, early claimants continue to have low levels of earnings in all subsequent years.
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