Social Security: Suicide Prevention Tool

Suicide prevention sign on the east sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. Photo: Guillaume Paumier, CC-BY.

When officials of the Trump administration and the Republican-majority Congress speak of “reforming” entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, the conversation is largely confined to cost-cutting. It’s easy to forget the enormous impact these programs have on Americans’ lives.

A striking reminder comes in a new study, which finds “a significant, sudden drop in suicide rates upon turning 62 years old” — the age at which one becomes eligible for Social Security benefits.

“This decline is large, particularly among males, (and) has emerged for females and widened for males in recent years,” writes economist Jeffrey DeSimone of the University of Alabama–Birmingham.

“Much evidence suggests this discontinuity is attributable to the Social Security early retirement age, more so than the act of retiring itself,” he adds in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Read more (Pacific Standard) »

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