Although poverty rates for Americans age 65 and older have plunged over the past half century, many people continue to fall into poverty as they approach 62, Social Security's early eligibility age. Among those who did not complete high school, hardship rates increase from 23 percent at age 52 to 54 to 31 percent at age 60 to 61, a relative increase of 36 percent. Hardship rates decline after age 62, when most people qualify for Social Security. These findings highlight the fragility of the income support system for Americans in their fifties and early sixties.
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