Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Using behavioral parameters suggested by our research and simulated by the DYNASIM team at the Urban Institute, we evaluate the potential impact of a Lump Sum reform for delayed Social Security claiming. We show that the Lump Sum delayed benefit plan does not dramatically change solvency outcomes for the Payable or the Scheduled benchmarks. Thus, the proposed reform does not solve the solvency problem facing Social Security nor does it worsen it materially. Second, the differences in projected poverty fractions are remarkably small and may even be overestimated. Third, other distributional analyses show income increases, but the changes are relatively small relative to both Scheduled and Payable benchmarks. Fourth, asset projections show that the lowest and middle-income groups accumulate substantially higher nest eggs under the Lump Sum delayed benefit plan. This is a positive result inasmuch as lower-paid individuals are more likely to value the additional assets in retirement. Accordingly, the Lump Sum reform we have outlined here has positive distributional consequences overall without costing the system more money.

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All opinions and any errors are our own. All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2017 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The authors acknowledge the excellent help and collaboration of Karen Smith and Melissa Favreault from the Urban Institute and appreciate comments provided by Sita Slavov. We are grateful for funding from the AARP to conduct the research, and we also benefited from computing assistance from Yong Yu from the Pension Research Council of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 13 February 2019