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The boomer Social Security dilemma

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The number of unemployed workers age 55 and older was 6.8% in September, up from 4.2% a year earlier, according to USA Today. That’s lower than the overall rate of 9.8%, but when older workers are laid off, they often have a harder time finding another job. As of August, 44% of unemployed older workers had been out of work for at least 27 weeks, vs. 33% of younger jobless workers, according to AARP.

Many discouraged older workers have given up and taken early retirement. More than 2.6 million workers entered the Social Security system in fiscal 2009, up from 2.2 million a year earlier, the paper reports.

If you’re clients are eligible for Social Security, they can start claiming benefits at age 62, as many are now doing. However, claiming benefits before their full retirement age — 66 for baby boomers who will turn 62 this year — will permanently reduce their monthly payment by 25% or more. If they’re healthy and expect to live into your 80s, they’re better off postponing benefits, the paper quotes Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning for the Schwab Center for Financial Research, as saying.