Congress Explores Raising the Age of Social Security Recipients

Our Social Security trust fund is facing serious challenges with boomers entering retirement age and the trust fund dwindling by the day.

We discussed our concerns about the 62.4 million Americans who count on Social Security for 90 percent of their income in a Knoxville News/USA Today editorial.  

These Americans upheld their end of the bargain by paying into the Social Security fund for many years.  Today, our country's financial situation seems to be facing increasing pressure and we truly hope Congress does the right thing to give our older Americans hope.  

No matter what direction Congress chooses, whether it is raising social security taxes, changing the cost of living adjustment, or raising the age of social security recipients, the decision will be a tough one.  A recent Congressional research report explored how raising the retirement age would work.  The last time dramatic changes were made, Ronald Reagan was President in 1983 and there were major concerns about the trust fund's solvency.  Congress is now considering a similar idea of raising the retirement age based on a Congressional research report. 

In a recent Forbes opinion piece by Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, she explains why raising the Social Security age would hurt everyone.  She believes one of the most common legislative proposals to reform Social Security is raising the age at which retirees receive full benefits which is currently 67 for those born after 1960. According to Ghilarducci, raising the Social Security age for "full" benefits leaves workers with two bad choices: working longer or living on reduced monthly benefits for the rest of their lives because raising the retirement age cuts benefits.

2020 was a difficult year and wreaked havoc on employers and employees.  Early news reports show the Social Security trust fund balances grew during the fiscal year which surprised many of us.  However, when the final numbers come in, a different story may be told.

Even though the early projections are positive, when people don't work, social security taxes aren't being paid.  What concerns us, with boomers rolling into retirement age and with the possibility of having less social security taxes to cover benefits, the fund will evaporate before 2035.

There is no question, changes need to be made to ensure Social Security will be there for those who paid into it.  If we don't find a way to make changes to Social Security soon, we may end up doing what U.S. Senator Bob Corker said he hoped would not happen, sticking the bill to our children.  



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