Incentive money enabled seniors to retire early and receive full benefits – Community News
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Incentive money enabled seniors to retire early and receive full benefits

Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images

Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images

The golden years look particularly golden for certain Americans who have the financial means (and desire) to retire early, while also delaying when they get their Social Security benefits — something that happens more often these days, thanks to the combination of incentives from the pandemic era payments, rising house prices and stock market profits.

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A new analysis of government data conducted by the Washington Post found that the COVID-19 economy has created “some of the strongest incentives to retire in modern history.” At the same time, many of those retiring are also waiting to claim their Social Security benefits to ensure bigger monthly checks.

A WaPo analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the number of workers who filed for Social Security in the 12 months ending September fell 5% from the same period last year. That was the biggest drop in nearly two decades, according to the Social Security Administration.

Over the same period, the number of retirements among employees aged 65 to 69 increased by 5% year-on-year. The number of retirees in the United States has increased by about 3 million during the pandemic, which is about twice what would have been expected before the pandemic.

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Many experts say the trend is being driven by three distinct forces: generous federal incentives and unemployment benefits; larger pension funds thanks to stock market gains and rising house values; and COVID-related restrictions that have forced seniors to apply for Social Security benefits online rather than in field offices.

“Usually in economic downturns, we see greater reliance on Social Security programs, and we thought this would be the pandemic,” Lauren Hersch Nicholas, an economist at the University of Colorado in Denver, told the Washington Post. “The claim numbers don’t show that at all.”

Another factor driving pensions up, especially among women, is the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic itself, which has contributed to both economic and health insecurity.

“Healthcare concerns are unique to this recession and may play a role, especially since workers 65 and older are less likely to telecommute than younger workers,” Courtney Coile, an economist at Wellesley College, told WaPo.

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Retirement early may be an option for Americans with healthy bank accounts, but it’s not so easy for those who still struggle to make ends meet. As GOBankingRates previously reported, only 36% of non-retired Americans believe their retirement savings are on track to meet their financial needs after retirement, and about a third who planned to retire now say they are later. will happen because of the pandemic.

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Last updated: November 4, 2021

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Social Security Trend: Stimulus Money Allows Seniors to Retire Early and Receive Full Benefits