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Faith low in Social Security

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Retirement planning confidence in the future of Social Security is weak, with three out of 10 people believing they'll never be able to collect, according to a survey by Findlaw.com, a website that provides legal information for professionals.

Another 31 percent are fairly confident that they will receive something from the program, while the rest are unsure. Even people 55 and older are not positive that they'll be able to count on Social Security in retirement, with 36 percent saying they lack confidence that the checks will arrive.

Warnings by the Social Security Administration and the Treasury Department that checks could be delayed if the debt ceiling isn't lifted don't inspire confidence. Before you panic, look at it this way:

Social Security is the most important program the country has. Nine out of 10 people 65 and older get a check. For those people, Social Security represents an average of 39 percent of their income. For 23 percent of married couples and 46 percent of unmarried people, Social Security represents 90 percent or more of their income.

Older Americans are reliable voters. I pity the politician who votes to do anything detrimental to Social Security. Even cutting benefits for some people or in small ways is politically unpalatable.

But we do need to make some changes. In total, 161 million workers are covered by Social Security. There are currently 2.8 workers for every recipient of Social Security. By 2033, that will drop to 2.1 workers for each recipient. You don't have to be a math genius to see that something has to give.

One solution that is often suggested is to raise or eliminate the $113,700 wage cap on which Social Security taxes are levied. We also could increase the wage tax on both workers and employers. Another suggestion is to make 100 percent of Social Security payments taxable; currently, a maximum of 85 percent of Social Security income can be taxed. We could adopt the chained consumer price index, or CPI, on which cost-of-living adjustments are based. That would slow the growth of the program and spread the pain around.

Nobody likes any of these ideas very much. All of them raise costs for somebody. But keeping the program solvent and the checks flowing is vital. We need our government leaders to understand that and have the fortitude to do something about it.

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23 Comments
Larry Crawford
October 17, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Time for TERM LIMITS Don't that could be accomplished at the poles. The elections are controlled by MONEY! Congressmen/women who spend more than 12 years in ofice think they own the country ie; Reid, McConnel, Boerner, Palosey just to name a few. Did I spell their names right? Who cares!True, SSA money was used to fight in Korea and Vietnam.
Larry

HOWARD K
October 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

The article is really funny. My generation used to think the same thing when we were younger. Now that I'm 70 and see the numbers, I see how silly that thought was.

Loren Braun
October 17, 2013 at 1:19 pm

We will need to continue raising the retirement age. The real problem is with the amount of disability payments. The fraudulent claims need to be dealt with.

It looks like the future is means testing for receiving Social Security. If you have a other method of income, you will lose all or some of your Social Security benefits.

Please Congress, we need reform for welfare, Social Security and Medicare.

Linda Menger
October 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I totally agree with all of these people that have made comments. We paid into our social security and in reality it is our money that is being paid back to us. We paid taxes the first time on this money, why would we be taxed again. The so-called leaders of this country claim they are looking out for OUR best interest. I truly doubt that ever crosses THEIR minds. Put the president, congress and the representatives on Social Security for 1 year and they wouldn't be making the poor decisions that they are making now. Also, why should they be exempt from paying for their health insurance for now and for life. We have to pay, so should they. Put them in our shoes and perhaps the government wouldn't be so uncaring about the people that only have Social Security benefits to live on. Dave, I agree, "Time to fire them all"!!!

ruth cochran
October 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

years and years ago the government borrowed money fromsocial security why don't they put it backin than we wouldn't have a problem with it

Beverly Wolfer
October 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Please explain to me something. Why is it that all the years we worked, we paid taxes on that income before paying into our social security. Then when we go to collect our social security we have to pay taxes again. Am I missing something here? Why are we paying taxes twice? Also, what about all the social security that has been paid into the system that is not completely paid out because a person has died (no survivors)? Isn't that an excess in favor??? Please explain.

Jim Hritz
October 17, 2013 at 11:57 am

Why do we keep hearing about Social Security running out of money, but we never hear of welfare running out of money? Could it have anything to do with the Obama socialist administration?

Ernest Call
October 17, 2013 at 11:53 am

Why don't we put congress on social security and make it their only retirement income? No more paying them what they earned while in congress for the rest of their life. I bet that things would be different if we did!

john russo
October 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

the wife and I live on social security, if is cut or stop what will we do. I am 78 with a lot of health conditions and the wife is 72 with copd both to old and able to work and work all of ours lives and receive social security as our manlehood, what ever. we are not the only one in this shape, their are millions of people like us.

Dave Reeves
October 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

Folks; SS trust fund doesn't exist except with IOU's from the government. Linden Johnson did this to us-- he joined the trust with the treasury in 1965, thus it became a slush fund for congress and the gov owes us 2.7 Trillion with a T. It is broke, the gov is broke, there is less money coming into the SS than is being paid out, thus the difference has to be borrowed to pay us. Isn't that nice of our so-called leaders? Time to fire all of them.