Raising Retirement Age Makes More Sense if Disability Standards Were Relaxed

This MarketWatch article on raising the retirement age has a good point – if that were done in tandem with relaxing the standards for disability payments, it would make some sense.

“… If he really wants to fix Social Security, Boehner should propose increasing the “early retirement age” or ERA, too, Mitchell said. Right now, people in the U.S. can and do claim benefits at 62, the current early retirement age, and get a reduced benefit.

“Boehner’s plan to raise the NRA to 70 without boosting the ERA would mean that early retirement benefits would be lowered by 45%,” she said. “This could be an unexpectedly big hit to many retirees, which could be fixed by boosting both the ERA and the NRA in tandem, since Americans tend to take their benefits at the ERA.”

“Munnell agreed that increasing the NRA and ERA make sense, but it must be done in ways that protect those who truly need Social Security before the normal retirement age. Raising both will hurts those who have a short life expectancy, such as some minorities, and the 20% or so of people who claim Social Security early for health reasons.

Right now, people who claim benefits early tend to be either in poor health or to have a good pension. “If we raise the early retirement age, we need to have a disability benefits system with relaxed criteria,” Munnell said. “It needs to be flexible.”

“Mitchell said the U.S. has a disability benefits system for people who are severely disabled and cannot work. “So I believe that it makes sense to move the entire set of retirement ages up for those who are able to keep on going — move the early age to 65 and then have it creep up to 67, for instance,” she said.” See article here: