According to the Government Accountability Office, the continued popularity of 62 as a
Social Security claiming age may be
attributed to a misunderstanding on the part of pre-retirees.
Representatives of the GAO observed 30 in-person claims at SSA offices and found that, more often than not, frontline SSA employees will not
discuss delayed claiming with beneficiares. The issue only came up in 8 of the 26 interviews in which it was relevant. Similarly, the earnings test
was pertinent to 18 cases, but only discussed 7 times.
Furthermore, the GAO review of several academic surveys exploring pre-retiree knowledge of Social Security reveals a consistent pattern of
ignorance. For example, a phone survey given by the Financial Literacy Center
found that 36% of respondents did not understand the relationship between claiming age and the monthly benefit amount.
The full GAO report, including proposals to bridge this knowledge gap,
may be read here.