Changes to social security Expected date when benefits should be reduced

A new federal report shows an improved outlook for the Social Security program. (Disability Scoop)

WASHINGTON – The improving performance of the US economy has prompted the federal government to drop its projections of when Social Security and Medicare could run out of money.

Annual reports issued this week by the commissioners of the two programs continue to warn that policy changes are needed to avoid future benefit cuts.

As it stands now, it is predicted that without changes, Social Security will not be able to pay full benefits in 2035, according to the commissioner’s report. That’s a year later than last year’s estimate.

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«This year’s report is a measure of good news for the millions of Americans who depend on Social Security, including the roughly 50% of seniors for whom Social Security is the difference between poverty and a life of dignity — any potential benefit cut event has been pushed from 2034 to 2035,» he said. Social Security Commissioner Martin O’Malley said in a statement.

“More people are contributing to Social Security, thanks to strong economic policies that have led to impressive wage growth, historic job creation and persistently low unemployment. As long as Americans across our country continue to work, Social Security can — and will — continue to pay benefits,” O’Malley said. “Congress can and should take action to extend the financial health of the endowment fund into the foreseeable future, just as it has done in the past on a bipartisan basis. Eliminating the shortfall will bring peace to the more than 70 million Social Security beneficiaries, the 180 million workers and their families who contribute to Social Security, and the entire nation.”

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The Medicare commissioners reported that the collapse date for the hospitalization program is now sometime in 2036, five years later than previously predicted.

«Hospital insurance revenue is projected to be higher than last year’s estimates because both the number of covered workers and average wages are projected to be higher,» the report said.

The Social Security program pays benefits to about 71 million people – including retirees, people with disabilities and children. In 2023, Medicare covered 66.7 million people: 59.1 million age 65 and older and 7.6 million people with disabilities.

Lawmakers have long debated what to do about the Social Security and Medicare funding problems without finding a solution.

Jo Ann Jenkins, executive director of AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons), said Congress must act. «The stakes are simply too high to do nothing,» she told The Associated Press.

Michael A. Peterson, executive director of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, told the AP that “the longer Congress delays reform, the more challenging the options become, and these programs are too important to continue to drift toward insolvency. Many solutions are available to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and it is critical that Congress provide greater security and stability for the future.”

President Joe Biden responded to the reports by vowing to fight any attempts by congressional Republicans to cut benefits and urged wealthier Americans to pay more.

“Medicare is stronger and Social Security remains strong. As long as I am president, I will continue to strengthen Social Security and Medicare and protect them from Republican attempts to cut the benefits Americans have earned,» Biden said in a statement. “My plan would permanently extend Medicare’s solvency by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share and by reducing prescription drug costs. And I am committed to expanding the solvency of Social Security by asking the highest-income Americans to pay their fair share without cutting benefits or privatizing Social Security.”

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