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Why some Americans claim benefits early

You can start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62; however, you are entitled to full benefits when you reach your full retirement age. And, if you delay taking your benefits from your full retirement age up to age 70, your benefit amount will increase. Despite this incentive, a recent survey found that most Americans plan to draw their Social Security benefits early, even though it means a permanent reduction to their monthly Social Security benefit. Almost half of the survey respondents said, “They planned to draw on their benefits early over concern that Social Security is running out of money.” Nora Colomer explains how the fear over Social Security’s future is pushing Americans to claim benefits early and basically walk away from money that could improve their quality of life in retirement. Read Ms. Colomer’s article here…

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Comments On This Topic

  1. Why does the claim of Social Security running out of funds by 2030 come up? Because Congress took out a loan against the full amount of 1.7 trillion dollars in the surplus trust fund to pay for the Iraq war and run some government programs. I looked it up. George Bush signed off on it. They were supposed to start paying it back with interest in the 1990s. Did they? I don’t know. Who should be paying that loan? My opinion is that when we sign for a loan and agree to the terms, we are responsible for paying it back. By those standards, Bush and anyone in Congress at the time that voted aye to do so is also responsible to pay back that debt. After all that money came from people who work for a living, and pay taxes. So the money shouldn’t come from our taxes, because it was our money that went into that fund. We the people built that fund. They took out the loan, so they should pat it back. I am sure that they can all afford to pay their share of it.

    • Kenneth:

      Thank you for your comment and for expressing your concern. Unfortunately, you are referring to a persistent myth that suggests political forces have used Social Security funds (many use the term “stolen” to characterize this belief) for purposes other than the program’s designated purpose. We have researched this matter extensively and can attest to the fact that every dollar ever received by Social Security (payroll tax revenue, interest on reserves, and federal income tax on benefits) is accounted for and that no “loans” gave ever been taken from the program’s trust fund reserves and that no funds have been misappropriated.

      The root of the misunderstanding is that all revenue designated as Social Security revenue is received directly by the U.S. Treasury, and—by law–automatically converted into special interest U.S. Treasury Bonds. These interest-bearing bonds are forwarded to the Social Security Administration and held in the program’s trust fund accounts. In fact, since for many years the program operated at a surplus, with more coming in than going out, Social Security was able to build up a cash reserve in its trust fund of nearly $3 trillion. In 2021, though, this trend reversed, and Social Security is now paying out more than it’s taking in, using the trust fund balance to make up the difference.

      With Social Security operating at a deficit since 2021, the accumulated trust fund reserves are steadily being depleted, hence the “running out of funds” scenario you described. This is the much-discussed “insolvency” issue the program is facing which, when the reserves are fully depleted, will result in an across-the-board cut in benefit payments.
      Annually, the Social Security trustees report to Congress on the status of the program, providing a detailed accounting of cash flow. These reports are available for review on the SSA website. But in addition to accounting for the funds, the trustee’s reports also include a warning that the trust fund balances will only allow the program to run at a deficit until the 2030s, at which point they will be fully depleted and benefits will need to be cut. This, of course, can be prevented by Congressional action to modernize the program and bring it into alignment with 21st-century demographics.

      As a concerned citizen, we encourage you to contact your Congressional representatives and demand that they take action to correct Social Security’s long-term funding problem. There are suggested approaches on the table, but it takes political will to attack the problem. AMAC has developed a solution…AMAC’s Social Security Guarantee that is one such approach…one that would preserve the system without necessitating tax increases.

      Thanks again for your comment. If you’d like to discuss this further, feel free to give our Social Security advisory Service a call at 888-750-2622.

      Gerry Hafer, Social Security Advisor
      AMAC Foundation, Inc.
      CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The contents of this message, including any attachments, are confidential and are intended solely for the use of the person or entity to whom the message was addressed. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, please be advised that any dissemination, distribution, forwarding, printing, copying, or use of the contents of this message, and any attached documentation, is strictly prohibited. If you received this message in error, please notify the sender. Please also permanently delete all copies of the original message and any attached documentation. The opinions and interpretations expressed in this message are the viewpoints of the message’s author, a trained advisor accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). The author, the NSSA, and the AMAC Foundation are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government.

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