Millions of Americans depend on money from the Social Security system to help make ends meet from month to month. Whether it’s collecting retirement money after a life of paying into the system, or collecting money for disability after an accident or illness made working impossible, that money is essential for living. In the next twenty years, more and more Americans will be depending on the SSA for their income needs. But what will happen over the course of those twenty years? Can Americans today expect the same level of benefits two decades down the road? As you can probably expect, the answer to that isn’t easy.
As things stand right now, Social Security is in danger. While there is plenty of money now, and even a little bit of a surplus, recent changes mean that the surplus will slowly start to run out. If recent projections hold out, then the surplus of money in the Social Security fund will run out in 2034. At that time, there could be an issue.
Social Security was originally designed to take in as much money as it pays out. Over the years, though, the program has stretched to the point where this isn’t true. So, when the existing surplus finally runs out in 2034, Social Security will not be able to bring in enough money to completely fund itself. Current projections estimate that the SSA will only be able to bring in about 79% of the money that it needs to pay out to retirees, the disabled and other beneficiaries.
This is where it gets complicated. Because this possibility is still almost twenty years in the future, nothing about it is truly certain. As that deadline appears, who knows what sort of measures might be enacted by the government to fix the issue? Because of that, everything is uncertain. However, without those changes, it’s very possible that beneficiaries will see their payments cut by as much as 21%. In addition, the retirement age could be increased, making it take longer for people to start collecting their benefits. Or, the scope of Social Security could be lessened to stop as many different types of payments from going into effect.
Basically, as it stands right now, the SSA faces a potential problem. While there is plenty of time for the government to fix the issue, the real question is, will they? Or will they let this issue drag on to the point where it’s too late to do anything about it?