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Key Findings Details

The Importance of Objective Health Measures in Predicting Early Receipt of Social Security Benefits: The Case of Fatness
Richard V. Burkhauser and John H. Cawley
WP 2006-148

  • It is only body fat, not fat-free mass like muscle, that predicts early receipt of Social Security Old-Age benefits (OA).
  • An extra standard deviation of total body fat is associated with a 19.3 percentage point higher probability of early receipt of OA benefits.
  • The impact of policy changes that could decrease the uptake of Social Security disability benefits at 62 may be overwhelmed by the potential impact of increased obesity.