Treasury Suggests Boosting Social Security Retirement Ages

The latest U.S. Treasury Department treatise on Social Security reform suggests increasing both the early and normal retirement ages would help encourage more Americans to stay in the workforce.

The research paper, “Social Security Reform: Work Incentives,” asserts that many Americans mistakenly view the early retirement age of 62 and the normal retirement date as being officially sanctioned government timelines and make retirement decisions based on that understanding.

Generally, the Treasury document says, the government needs to do a better job making clear the precise relationship between the length of one’s work life and their benefits.

Particularly with those considering the early retirement step, the government research paper suggests that many taxpayers underestimate the extent to which their ultimate Social Security payment level would go up as they work longer.

“This is true despite the fact that the Social Security net tax structure gives no true economic incentive for workers with reasonably prudent nest eggs to retire at that specific age,” officials say in the document. “Increasing the early retirement age would not affect the retirement incentives of these workers, but would likely encourage additional work effort through the suggestion effect.”

As with the early retirement age many taxpayers interpret the normal retirement timeline as being suggested by the government. “Such people’s retirement decisions would be more responsive to an increase in the normal retirement age than to the equivalent proportional benefit cut,” researchers say.

The paper is available here.