Social Security Reform: Raising Retirement Ages Improves Program Solvency but May Cause Hardship for Some

TitleSocial Security Reform: Raising Retirement Ages Improves Program Solvency but May Cause Hardship for Some
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsBovbjerg, BD
JournalGAO Testimony before the Special Committee on Aging, U.S. Senate
KeywordsDemographics, Disabilities, Employment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status, Net Worth and Assets, Social Security

This report examines how raising the retirement age could affect Social Security (SS) and the economy and how the labor market might respond to these changes. It then looks at the possible impacts this raising of the age would have on the Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. The analysis shows that due to high life expectancies and the overall good health condition of the elderly, raising the retirement age could improve SS program's long-term solvency and could increase economic output. However, potential negative effects arise from the fact that older workers who have been laid off or have been retired may experience difficulties finding jobs. While the elderly may be willing to continue working, it is questionable whether employers will be willing to retain and hire them. Another possible drawback to raising the retirement age is explained by using the Health and Retirement Study. HRS data demonstrated that blue-collar workers in particular would be disproportionately affected by this age increase because due to the nature of their jobs which puts them at an increased risk of incurring health problems, they may be unable to remain in the workforce in later ages. These poor health, predominately blue-collar workers who will not receive SS retirement benefits because they cannot continue working up until the new age set by the increase, may apply for DI or be eligible for SSI, which would increase the costs of those programs.

Endnote Keywords

Labor Force/Health Status/Basic Demographics/Economic Status/Disability/Disability/Social Security

Endnote ID


Citation Key6617