Social Security Just Turned 88. Are Your Benefits Still Sound? - CNBC
Here’s an interesting thought: Social Security turned 88 years old on August 14th, started paying benefits in 1937, and has never missed making a payment since. That’s a pretty darn good record by any measure – but will it continue?
The quick answer is “Yes,” because Social Security cannot go bankrupt as long as there are Americans working. What’s a bit less certain is whether Social Security will always be able to pay 100% of the benefits due, because the program’s annual cost is now more than the revenue the program receives each year, and has been for a while. The only reason full benefits continue to be paid is because Social Security’s financial reserves are now used to make up the difference – a saving grace which will end in 2033 if Social Security’s Trust Fund is depleted. The solution? Tax increases, benefit payment adjustments, or some combination of both.
The reality: Social Security will always be there for you even if Congress does nothing, so decisions on when to claim Social Security shouldn’t be based on fear of Social Security going away (it won’t). But it’s always a good idea to have a contingency plan in the unlikely event Congress fails to enact program reform, as explained in this informative CNBC “Your Money” article by Lori Konish.
As an example of the leading thoughts on reforming Social Security, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC, Inc.) believes Social Security must be preserved and modernized. This can be achieved without tax increases by slight modifications to cost of living adjustments and payments to high income beneficiaries plus gradually increasing the full (but not early) retirement age. AMAC Action, AMAC’s advocacy arm, supports an increase in the threshold where benefits are taxed and then indexing for inflation, and calls for eliminating the reduction in people’s benefits for those choosing to work before full retirement age. AMAC is resolute in its mission that Social Security be preserved for current and successive generations and has gotten the attention of lawmakers in D.C., meeting with many congressional offices and staff over the past decade.