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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Should SSA Raise Retirement Age?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Feb 03, 2016 | 0 Comments

Among the more popular ideas for "fixing" Social Security retirement is raising the so-called 'Full Retirement Age" or FRA.  Most people think that they can retire at 65 with full Social Security benefits. But, this is not the case for anyone born after 1938. From then on, FRA increases up to 67 if you were born after 1959. Some thinkers believe that increasing FRA past 67 would help Social Security stay solvent. But this is not a universally-held opinion.

Raise The Retirement Age?

You can read both sides of this debate and see which argument makes more sense to you. Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times is opposed to raising FRA. His argument is that American workers age differently (in terms of mortality, not chronology--which is still the same for everyone) depending on said workers's economic status. The short version of this argument is that poorer people die sooner than rich people. Raising FRA would therefore punish poorer people disproportionately. Oh, yeah? Says Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute. Biggs thinks that Hiltzik was not nearly nuanced enough in his assessment of the affects of raising FRA.  Biggs provides all the usual charts and graphs to support his conclusion that raising FRA would have a negligible affect on the progressivity (read: fairness) of Social Security retirement benefits.

Is 70 the New 67?

Is There A Simple Solution?

So, who is right, or at least more right? There is no simple answer to this question. What I think both men overlook is the effect that early retirement has. Far too many people begin their retirement benefits at age 62. At present, anyone who qualifies for retirement benefits can do this. If you go on early retirement (please don't) what difference does it make what your FRA is? Once you start collecting retirement checks, your FRA is irrelevant. One really radical way to shore up Social Security's finances would be to lower early retirement to a younger age. Actuaries would have to run the numbers, but I think if you let people start their Social Security at 55, for example, but cut their benefits by 60%, Social Security would save money in the long run. I fear a lot of people would gladly make this bargain and retire at 55.  

Read The Articles For Yourself

Here are the two articles.  Read them and let me know who you think had the better argument.

Don't Raise FRA 

Raising FRA Does Not Make Social Security Unfair

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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