More People Opting for Smaller Social Security Benefit

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SAN JOSE, Calif. – Rosie Foronda is one among an increasing number of people who are retiring early and collecting their Social Security benefits at a reduced rate.

“Balitang America” profiled Foronda, who was laid off from her job in the semiconductor industry in 2007. Foronda says she could not find another job she believes primarily because she is older, so she decided to retire and filed for her Social Security benefits at age 63. Because she opted to collect her payments before her full retirement age of 66, she receives $500 less every month.  The fixed income of $1,200 monthly, Foronda says,  is barely enough to cover her mortgage and other bills.

Even with reduced benefits, the Social Security Administration said more and more people are deciding to retire early simply because they can’t find employment.

 “With the recent economic downturn, a lot of people are finding themselves unemployed, losing their jobs and fortunately Social Security is there to provide some economic security for them," Linda Zamfino, spokesperson for the Social Security Administration.

About 2.74 million people filed for Social Security benefits in 2009. That number is more than any year in history. Zamfino said they’re expecting close to 80 million baby boomers to retire soon, earlier than expected.