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More on Social Security's age of eligibility

June 2, 2010 - Mike Maneval

In following up to my last blog post and my remarks about Social Security and the age of eligibility, I found the same concerns expressed elsewhere. The website notes that "when Social Security was first created in 1935 most people lived just a few years in retirement – now they can expect to live for decades."

According to the Cato Institute, in 1950 16 workers paid into Social Security for each beneficiary withdrawing funds. Due to a variety of causes, including the expansion of time spent eligible for benefits, the ratio today is 3 workers for each beneficiary.

One measure to alleviate these pressures is delayed retirement. According to Social Security's website, beneficiaries can opt to delay receiving their benefits and for each year off the rolls can get a small increase.

But, like past efforts to temper the expanding period of eligibility, the delayed-retirement concept has been tepid - and carries the added burden of increasing benefits to attract participation. And so, raising the age of eligibility looks still to be both difficult and a necessity. 


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