Many Americans choose to claim Social Security as soon as possible.
Social Security eligibility begins at age 62, and approximately 31% of all Americans begin claiming Social Security in their first month of eligibility, with men and women doing so at similar rates.
A new National Bureau of Economic Research paper examines whether age 62 is associated with a change in aggregate mortality.
The paper looks at mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics’ Multiple Cause of Death that covers the entire U.S. population and includes exact dates of birth and death, and finds a “robust” 2% increase in male mortality immediately after age 62. According to the paper, the change in female mortality is smaller and “imprecisely estimated.”
The paper’s analysis then suggests that the increase in male mortality is connected to retirement from the labor force and associated lifestyle changes.
“Claiming Social Security is not an isolated event; many other changes commonly occur at the same time,” the paper states.
The paper identifies three lifestyle changes in particular that can also occur at the time of claiming Social Security.
First, the paper notes that individuals frequently stop working or reduce work levels at this time. Looking at Health and Retirement Study data, the paper finds that the increase in claiming Social Security leads to an immediate increase in retirement. According to the paper, approximately one-tenth of males retire from the labor force in the month they turn 62.