A study conducted for Congress has concluded that 65 is no longer the standard retirement age for most people with private pensions.
Instead, the median age for workers to start drawing private pensions is 62, according to an analysis of Census Bureau records by the General Accounting Office.
"Almost 60 percent start receiving private pensions before reaching 65," said Richard Fogel, director of the GAO's human resources division. "Thus, 65 no longer appears to be the retirement age chosen by most Americans with private pensions."
Congress has been trying to draft a new pension plan for federal workers hired after Dec. 31, 1983, who will also be covered under Social Security now.
Workers hired before then have their own pension plan that allows them to retire at age 55 after 30 years' service.
The administration has argued that this is out of sync with private-sector practices and that the full-benefits retirement age should be raised to 65 for all federal workers.
Most Social Security beneficiaries also claim reduced benefits before 65. They can receive 80 percent of full benefits at age 62, with the amount increasing each month that they wait until 65.
The GAO cited a government survey of those collecting Social Security benefits for the first time in 1980 and 1981. It "found that 76 percent of the men and 84 percent of the women were under 65," the report said.