Life Expectancy Declines and Social Security Solvency…Is There a Connection? - nj.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports on their website that life expectancy for the U.S. population in 2020 was 77.0 years, a drop of 1.8 years from the previous year. This raises somewhat of a question regarding the potential for such a decrease affecting–favorably–the projections for Social Security’s solvency crisis, where fully-paid benefits are projected to cease in little more than a decade. Will it make a difference?  NJMoneyHelp.com’s Karin Price Mueller deals with a variation of this question in a post on nj.com, and her answer is somewhat inconclusive since, as she points out, it’s a complicated matter. Read her post here…

The complexity in what would appear to many to be a relatively simple question lies in the history behind retirement ages built into the Social Security System. As Ms. Mueller’s article notes, the original age 65 retirement age presented a scenario wherein most retirees didn’t make it that far in life. Those who’ve followed the looming solvency crisis are well aware that as life expectancy evolved over time, lawmakers took steps to move it farther out, first to age 66, and then to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. And while it might seem obvious that a declining life expectancy would serve to mitigate at least a portion of the solvency issue, there are competing factors, namely the pandemic-driven rush to retirement caused by folks dropping out of the workforce. Until we see updated life expectancy rates from the CDC, it really is difficult to project how much mitigation has taken place.

Ms. Mueller’s article goes on to explore several other aspects of the solvency issue and the potential “fixes” under consideration, some of which coincide with the Social Security Guarantee proposal developed by the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) and currently being promoted by AMAC Action, AMAC’s advocacy organization. Click here to review this proposed legislative framework.

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