The Impact of Late-Career Health and Employment Shocks on Social Security and Other Wealth

Brief

The Impact of Late-Career Health and Employment Shocks on Social Security and Other Wealth

Abstract

About one-quarter of workers age 51 to 55 in 1992 developed health-related work limitations and about one-fifth were laid off from their jobs before age 62. Although late-career health and employment shocks often derail retirement savings plans, Social Securitys disability insurance, spouse and survivor benefits, and progressive benefit formula provide important protections. In fact, health shocks increase Social Security's lifetime value, primarily because the systems disability insurance allows some disabled workers to collect benefits before age 62. However, if the systems disability insurance program did not exist, the onset of health-related work limitations would substantially reduce Social Security wealth.

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