NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Will They Take the Money and Work? An Empirical Analysis of People's Willingness to Delay Claiming Social Security Benefits for a Lump Sum

Raimond Maurer, Olivia S. Mitchell, Ralph Rogalla, Tatjana Schimetschek

NBER Working Paper No. 20614
Issued in October 2014
NBER Program(s):AG, LS, PE

This paper investigates whether exchanging the Social Security delayed retirement credit (currently paid as an increase in lifetime annuity benefits) for a lump sum would induce later claiming and additional work. We show that people would voluntarily claim about half a year later if the lump sum were paid for claiming any time after the Early Retirement Age, and about two-thirds of a year later if the lump sum were paid only for those claiming after their Full Retirement Age. Overall, people will work one-third to one-half of the additional months, compared to the status quo. Those who would currently claim at the youngest ages are likely to be most responsive to the offer of a lump sum benefit.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20614

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