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Key Findings Details

Social Security Benefit Claiming and Medicare Utilization
John Bound, Helen Levy and Lauren Nicholas
WP 2013-297

  • We use administrative Medicare claims linked to nationally representative Health and Retirement Study data to compare health care utilization at common ages among four groups of Social Security recipients.
  • Social Security beneficiaries claiming prior to their Full Eligibility Age are modestly less healthy than those who delay, but significantly healthier than DI recipients or rejected applicants.
  • Rejected applicants appear more similar to DI recipients than to beneficiaries who never apply for DI benefits, though this difference is attenuated with additional time in Medicare. 
  • Our results suggest there could be a modest increase in DI application and receipt in response to increases in the EEA and FRA, though most early claimers would be too healthy for DI.  

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