Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-fnprw Total loading time: 0.513 Render date: 2022-08-10T01:35:52.953Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Early claiming of higher-earning husbands, the survivor benefit, and the incidence of poverty among recent widows*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 January 2016

JEFFREY DIEBOLD
Affiliation:
North Carolina State University (e-mail jcdiebol@ncsu.edu)
JEREMY MOULTON
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
JOHN SCOTT
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Abstract

Social Security provides survivor benefits to lower-earning spouses of deceased workers entitled to a retirement benefit. The value of the survivor benefit depends on a number of factors including the deceased worker's claim age. We use the Health and Retirement Study and a discrete time hazard model to analyze how the claim age of married men influences the likelihood that their spouse will enter poverty in widowhood. We find that delayed claiming is associated with reduction in a widow's poverty risk. The magnitude of this relationship varies significantly with the claim age, Social Security dependence, and survivor benefit dependence.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

The authors would like to thank Robert Clark and the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments. They also thank Susie Camilleri for editorial support. Opinions and errors are solely those of the authors and not of the institutions with which the authors are affiliated.

References

Ai, C. R. and Norton, E. C. (2003) Interaction terms in logit and probit models. Economics Letters, 80(1): 123129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Anzick, M. and Weaver, D. A. (2001) Reducing Poverty among Elderly Women. Washington, DC: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics.Google Scholar
Berkowitz, E. D. (2002) Family benefits in social security: a historical commentary. In Favreault, M., Samartino, F., and Steuerle, E. (eds), Social Security and the Family: Addressing Unmet Needs in an Underfunded System. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, pp. 1946.Google Scholar
Blau, F. D. and Kahn, L. M. (2007) Changes in the labor supply behavior of married women: 1980–2000. Journal of Labor Economics, 25(3): 393438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, S. and Perron, R. (2011) Determining How Current and Future Social Security Beneficiaries Make Retirement Decisions. Washington, DC: AARP Research and Strategic Analysis.Google Scholar
Burkhauser, R. V., Duncan, G. J. and Hauser, R. (1994) Sharing prosperity across the age distribution: a comparison of the United States and Germany in the 1980s. The Gerontologist, 34(2): 150160.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Chien, S., Campbell, N., Hayden, O., Hurd, M., Main, R., Mallett, J., Martin, C., Meijer, E., Moldoff, M., Rohwedder, S. and Clair, P.S. (2014) RAND HRS Data Documentation, Version N.Google Scholar
Coile, C., Diamond, P., Gruber, J. and Jousten, A. (2002) Delays in claiming social security benefits. Journal of Public Economics, 84: 357385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Entmacher, J. (2008) Strengthening Social Security Benefits for Widow(er)'s: The 75% Combined Worker Benefit Alternative. Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center.Google Scholar
Favreault, M. M., Sammartino, F. J. and Steuerle, C. E. (2002) “Introduction” and “Social security benefits for spouses and survivors: Options for change”. In Favreault, M., Samartino, F., and Steuerle, E. (eds), Social Security and the Family: Addressing Unmet Needs in an Underfunded System. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, pp. 117 and 117–227.Google Scholar
Gillen, M. and Kim, H. (2009) Older women and poverty transition: consequences of income source changes from widowhood. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 28(3): 320341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greene, W. H. (2012) Econometric Analysis, 7th edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
Greenwald, M., Kapteyn, A., Mitchell, O. S. and Schneider, L. (2010) What do people know about social security? RAND – Financial Literacy Center.Google Scholar
Haaga, O. and Johnson, R. W. (2012) Social security claiming: trends and business cycle effects. Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, CRR Working Paper 2012-5.Google Scholar
Haider, S. and Solon, G. (2000) Nonrandom selection in the HRS social security earnings sample. RAND – Labor and Population Program, Papers 00-01.Google Scholar
Holden, K. C., Burkhauser, R. V. and Feaster, D. J. (1988) The timing of falls into poverty after retirement and widowhood. Demography, 25(3): 405414.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Iams, H. M. and Tamborini, C. R. (2012) The implications of marital history change on women's eligibility for social security wife and widow benefits, 1990–2009. Social Security Bulletin, 72(2): 2338.Google ScholarPubMed
Johnson, R. W., Smith, K. E. and Haaga, O. (2013) How did the great recession affect social security claiming? Program on Retirement Policy Brief, 37, Urban Institute.Google Scholar
Karaca-Mandic, P., Norton, E. C. and Dowd, B. (2012) Interaction terms in nonlinear models. Health Services Research, 47: 255274.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Karamcheva, N. and Munnell, A. H. (2007) Why are widows so poor? Center for Retirement Research, Issues in Brief IB#7-9.Google Scholar
Li, X., Hurd, M. and Loughran, D. S. (2008) The characteristics of social security beneficiaries who claim benefits at the early entitlement age. Washington, DC: AARP, Research Report No. 2008–19.Google Scholar
Long, J. and Freese, J. (2014) Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables using Stata, 3rd edn. College Station, TX: Stata.Google Scholar
Munnell, A. H. and Sass, S. A. (2008) The decline of career employment. Center for Retirement Research, Issues in Brief ib2008-8-14.Google Scholar
Sass, S. A., Sun, W. and Webb, A. (2007) Why do married men claim social security benefits so early? Ignorance or caddishness? Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, CRR Working Paper 2007-17.Google Scholar
Sass, S. A., Sun, W. and Webb, A. (2013) Social security claiming decision of married men and widow poverty. Economic Letters, 119(1): 2023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sevak, P., Weir, D. R. and Willis, R. J. (2004) The economic consequences of a husband's death: evidence from the HRS and AHEAD. Social Security Bulletin, 65(3): 3144.Google Scholar
Shoven, J. B. and Slavov, S. N. (2013) Recent changes in the gains from delaying social security. National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 17866.Google Scholar
Shoven, J. B. and Slavov, S. N. (2014) Does it pay to delay social security? Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 13(2): 121144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singer, J. and Willett, J. (2003) Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis: Modeling Change and Event Occurrence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smeeding, T. M. and Sandstrom, S. (2005) Poverty and income maintenance in old age: a cross-national view of low-income older women. Feminist Economics, 11(2): 163174.Google Scholar
Smith, B. A. and Couch, K. A. (2014) Social security statement: background, implementation, and recent developments. The Social Security Bulletin, 74: 1.Google Scholar
Social Security Administration (2014 a) Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2013. Washington, DC: Social Security Administration.Google Scholar
Social Security Administration (2014 b) Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2012. Washington, DC: Social Security Administration.Google ScholarPubMed
Sun, W. and Webb, A. (2011) Valuing the longevity insurance acquired by delayed claiming of social security. Journal of Risk and Insurance, 78(4): 907930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weaver, D. A. (2001) Widow(er)'s limit provision of social security. Social Security Bulletin, 64(1): 115.Google Scholar
Weaver, D. A. (2010) Widows and social security. Social Security Bulletin, 70: 89.Google ScholarPubMed
Winkler, A. E. (1998) Earnings of husbands and wives in dual-earner families. Monthly Labor Review, 121(42): 4248.Google Scholar
Wooldridge, J. (2002) Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Zick, C. and Smith, K. (1991) Patterns of economic change surrounding the death of a spouse. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 46(6): S310S320.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Zick, C. D. and Holden, K. (2000) An assessment of the wealth holdings of recent widows. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 55(2): S90S97.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Supplementary material: File

Diebold supplementary material

Appendix

Download Diebold supplementary material(File)
File 32 KB
6
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Early claiming of higher-earning husbands, the survivor benefit, and the incidence of poverty among recent widows*
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Early claiming of higher-earning husbands, the survivor benefit, and the incidence of poverty among recent widows*
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Early claiming of higher-earning husbands, the survivor benefit, and the incidence of poverty among recent widows*
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *