Why Social Security Retirement Claims Didn’t Increase During Covid-19 – Community News
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Why Social Security Retirement Claims Didn’t Increase During Covid-19

An office of the Social Security Administration in San Francisco.

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One of the most immediate effects of the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak early last year was a shift in the workforce.

Now, nearly two years later, data shows that only one cohort of older workers accelerated their retirement plans: those 70 and older.

Consequently, there has likely been “only a small increase” in claiming Social Security retirement benefits as a result of the pandemic, according to research from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research that is based on data from the U.S. Current Population Survey. Census Bureau.

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Undoubtedly, the pandemic has prompted many workers aged 55 and over to leave the workforce. Data shows that the likelihood of that age cohort leaving the workforce increased by 50% from the pre-pandemic rate, or by 7.6 percentage points.

Those most vulnerable to a career break include women, Asian-Americans, those without college degrees, and professionals who work in positions where they cannot work remotely.

But the departures of older workers didn’t necessarily indicate retirement, the data shows.

The average pre-pandemic retirement rate is 12.2%, compared to 13.3% post-pandemic. “That 1 percentage point difference is statistically significant, but qualitatively small,” the Center’s report said.

However, a certain group — workers 70 and older — were 5.9 percentage points more likely to leave their job and retire during the pandemic.

Social Security benefits are structured so that the longer beneficiaries wait to claim retirement benefits, the greater their monthly retirement checks will be. But that stops at age 70.

As a result, most older workers who decided to retire likely had already claimed their retirement benefits before the pandemic, the study concludes.

How those retirement trends continue to shape depends on how conditions develop over time, the study said. Some older workers may be waiting for Covid-19 issues and restrictions to ease before returning to work.

Others may not plan to return to work, but may still delay claiming Social Security because of other income from incentive payments and unemployment insurance.