Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Younghwan Song




age, respondents, claim, FRA, health


Social Security benefits serve as a chief form of income for many retirees. However, the value of these benefits varies based on the age at which a person claims in relation to their Full-Retirement Age (FRA). This paper analyzes the effects of the FRA on the claiming decision of Americans using panel data from the Health and Retirement Study. Current policy has resulted in increases to the FRA of eligible claimants based on their birth year. This has been done in an effort to increase the age at which people claim in response to concerns with the long‐term solvency of the Social Security System. This paper uses three different models of censored normal regression analysis to differentiate between married respondents with and without their spousal characteristics and unmarried respondents. Further, it draws conclusions across genders. This paper finds that increases in the FRA are associated with slightly less than proportional increases in the claiming age of all respondents. In addition, this study finds that higher self‐reported health measures and higher self-reported probabilities of working to age 65 are related to higher claiming ages, while current smokers claim earlier across all respondents. Finally, this study finds that unmarried respondents who believe that their health status limits their ability to work and those who are currently receiving pension income are more likely to claim at an earlier age, while unmarried respondents with Retiree Health Insurance (RHI) claim later.