Would Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Harm Low-Income Groups?

Brief

Would Raising the Social Security Retirement Age Harm Low-Income Groups?

January 30, 2007

Social Security's projected financial shortfall has spurred discussions about increasing the age at which workers can first receive retirement benefits. This brief examines the future distributional impacts of raising the retirement age by about three years. Raising the retirement age hits lower-income workers less hard than other groups because the disability program provides some protection. However, it still increases poverty rates. Combining the retirement age change with an enhanced minimum benefit increases lifetime benefits for the lowest earners and substantially cuts the Social Security deficit without significantly increasing poverty rates.

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