Will Raising Minimum Social Security Age Benefit Everyone Equally?

social-securityThe Social Security system in the United States is supposed to help establish a financial base for all people who work in America. It is there to help provide money and services to everyone who may need a little help from time to time as well as some retirement, later in life.

Of course, if you know anything about the United States Social Security System then you should be acutely aware that the government has been raising the age at which you can start collecting your accrued Social Security. That’s because the money is being used for a variety of things.

But does raising the minimum wage actually help Americans; Americans who have been working their whole lives in hopes to take advantage of this promised benefit later in life?

Minimum Social Security Age Benefit

According to Brookings Institution senior fellow, Gary Burtless, increasing the minimum Social Security age does, in fact, help; but not equitably. Well, when you think about the fact that data proves lower-income people tend to not live as long as, for example, those in the “one percent”.

As such, he argues that raising the minimum wage will disproportionately benefit those who earn a lot of money because they will be able to enjoy social security benefits for more time than those who do not earn very much.

Currently, full benefits are available for those born between 1943 and 1954 who reach the age of 65 or 66. Reduced benefits (by as much as 30 percent) can be available at the age of 62. However, retirement planners are now advising that Americans should wait until the age of 70 to cash in, and lower income Americans argue that is something they simply cannot afford to do.

Life Expectancy

Looking at this more closely in a study from Barry Bosworth and Kan Zhang, along with Burtless, life expectancy has improved more for high-earners than for low-earners. Life expectancy for males earning the bottom 10 percent of wages—turning 66—has improved by 0.7 years over 30 years ago. However, life expectancy males in the top 10 percent of wages have improved by more than 8 years.

In the report, Burtless goes on to say, “Improvements in life expectancy have been highly unequal, and low-income workers have experienced much smaller gains in life expectancy when compared with workers further up the income scale.

This argument [raising the retirement age] would be more convincing if increases in life expectancy were spread evenly across the workforce. They are not; It seems unfair to ask low-earners to take a benefit cut to pay for the added benefits high-earners enjoy because of longer life spans.”

 

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