American workers nearing retirement face a crucial question: do they want more – or less – money in their wallets? A new education project, Delay & Gain, urges workers to opt for more money, up to thousands of dollars per year in additional Social Security benefits, by working at least until their normal retirement age. Launched by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Delay & Gain includes a six-figure ad project targeting five U.S. cities where workforce participation is high, but too many workers are losing money by choosing to retire early.
More than one-third of American workers claim Social Security at the early retirement age of 62, lowering their monthly benefits for the rest of their lives. In a recent survey of American workers, nearly half of respondents did not know that their monthly Social Security benefits will be reduced by claiming at the earliest eligible age of 62 — and boosted up to 25% for waiting until the full retirement age of 66. Seniors who delay claiming until age 70 receive an even larger bump — up to 44% more than if they had filed for benefits early. For the average beneficiary, that can mean a difference of roughly $1,000 per month in extra income.
“We understand that not all workers have the option of working longer due to poor health, caregiving demands, age discrimination or physically demanding work. But, we consistently hear from seniors who retired early because they were sick and tired of working, who soon discovered that they were more sick and tired of not having enough money in retirement,” says Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
The risks of running out of money in later life are evident. Some 8% of seniors under 70 live in poverty. But the poverty rate jumps to 12% for those over 85. Older women are in greater peril than men, because they tend to live longer and have less retirement savings and lower Social Security benefits. Some 11% of all elderly women live in poverty compared to 8 percent of older men.
Because Social Security helps keep seniors out of poverty — and because benefits are adjusted for inflation — it’s imperative that workers maximize their future benefits. Retirees rely more and more on Social Security as they age. One half of all retirees receive most of their income from Social Security. But 42% of seniors over age 80 depend on Social Security for almost all their cash income. With one in four 65 year-olds expected to live past 90, it’s evident why workers should try to reap the highest possible monthly benefits. As they say, you can outlive other sources of income, but not Social Security.
The Delay & Gain project will roll-out in Baltimore, MD; Davenport, IA; Detroit, MI; Louisville, KY; and Pittsburgh, PA beginning April 8, 2019. The project will reach out to older workers through radio ads, videos, social media and mobile billboards while providing educational material for distribution and publication to Human Resource departments, community centers and libraries, and financial institutions. The project website, delayandgain.org offers additional resources including Ask Us, a free service where Social Security experts answer personal questions about benefits, filing a claim and more.
“We want seniors to be able to pursue a comfortable retirement, with the least amount of stress about paying the bills,” says Richtman. “This project will show older workers how to get there.”
The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.
Media Inquiries to:
Pamela Causey 202-216-8378/202-236-2123
Walter Gottlieb 202-216-8414