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Retirement Retirees Taking Early Social Security Benefits Hits 35-Year Low —

1 June 2012—etirement-minded Americans are getting the message: it pays to delay triggering Social Security benefits. That was one of the chief findings of a GAO study last year, and now the “take-up” rate for those who are eligible stands at a 35-year low. This is great news. Financially speaking, it means more retirees will be in better shape for the long haul.

Those taking benefits fell a second consecutive year in 2011 to 27% of the number eligible, reports the Urban Institute. That’s down from a take-up rate of 31% in 2009 and seems to re-establish a downward trend in place for the last dozen years—interrupted only by the Great Recession. Some older workers who lost jobs in the faltering economy opted to retire rather than search for another employer. They may have started collecting Social Security sooner than they had planned because of the forced nature of their retirement. That contributed to a spike in the percentage taking early benefits.

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