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More Social Security at 82

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

John Turner, who runs the Pension Policy Center in Washington, D.C., thinks he has the answer to making Social Security solvent and a more useful factor in our retirement planning.

Turner, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago, turns 62 in a week. He recently wrote a book on the future of Social Security in which he outlined two steps that he believes Social Security's reformers should take.

Raise the initial age of eligibility to 63. The benefits that you would get at 63 would be the same as you would get at 62, although contributing for an extra year would raise how much money you'd receive. "People are living longer and healthier and their work isn't as physically demanding as it as in the past, so for many people, it is possible to work a little longer and still have a nice retirement," Turner says.

Add an old-age benefit. This extra blast of cash would kick in at 82 -- just as many people's other sources of income begin to run short, hit by inflation and their increasing need for health care. "It isn't that expensive a benefit because it starts in old age -- and not everybody ends up living that long. It could be limited to people who really need it," Turner says.

Turner, whose book is called, "Longevity Policy: Facing Up to Longevity Issues Affecting Social Security, Pensions, and Older Workers," says even talking about Social Security is difficult because it is so politically unpopular. But he thinks his solution could win hearts and minds because it won't raise taxes and it wouldn't take effect for 27 years -- the first people to benefit are now in their 30s.

Turner himself has no plans to take his retirement anytime soon. "I like to work. And I think as long as you're healthy, work has a place in your life."

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12 Comments
Mary
August 01, 2011 at 7:28 am

People need to stop thinking of Social Security retirement as an entitlement – IT IS NOT. To get it you have to pay into SS for a long number of years, in my case that is 40+ years. I have worked for it; I have paid for it; I want what I have paid for. However, Social Security Disability could probably be considered an entitlement since you may not have to work for it.

If our shortsighted Congress, back in the 1970s, had left the Social Security trust fund alone SS would NOT have funding problems. But they saw the trust fund as a source of funding that they could use and not raise taxes; and, yes, our Congress is still spineless.

Mary
August 01, 2011 at 7:18 am

People need to stop thinking of Social Security retirement as an entitlement – IT IS NOT. To get it you have to pay into SS for a long number of years, in my case that is 40+ years. I have worked for it; I have paid for it; I want what I have paid for. However, Social Security Disability could probably be considered an entitlement since you may not have to work for it.

If our shortsighted Congress, back in the 1970s, had left the Social Security trust fund alone SS would NOT have funding problems. But they saw the trust fund as a source of funding that they could use and not raise taxes; and, yes, our Congress is still spineless.

I find it ridiculous that our spineless Congress is perfectly willing to raise taxes on the middle and lower classes but not the wealthy. Why should they want their taxes going up? I think Congress should start the cost cutting by eliminating their very generous ‘no longer in Congress’ pension which is 100% of their Congressional pay for the rest of their life that they get if they spend just ONE term in either house! Not to mention their just as generous medical plan that they don’t loose either. I think it is past time Congress members have to be elected for at least 25 years to be eligible for any kind of a pension and then make sure that at “retirement age” they must go on SS and Medicare; let’s put Congress on equal footing with the rest of seniors.

My Mother is on Medicare. It is past time that Congress stop sticking it to doctors with their cost cutting reducing fees/payments to doctors. The payments that need to be controlled are payments made to “technicians” and “therapists”; these types get 100% of what they want to charge and the costs can be outrageous. One physical therapist Mother saw charged $2000 for a 30 minute session and they got ALL of that from Medicare.

I think it is ridiculous that Congress thinks that keeping taxes low on the wealthy and corporations will help with job creation. Raise their taxes to say 90% like it was before Reagan cut them. Then give tax breaks/credits for jobs created and maybe a higher break for jobs brought back from overseas; and maybe add the stipulation that the job must exist for at least 10 years in this country or the credit is lost.

Also, in the current emphasis on cost cutting: WHEN is our spineless, self serving Congress going to cut their pay and benefits? Benefits that I would love to have.

Also, in case you are interested, I have the time to write all this since I am currently unemployed due to the JFCOM disorganization; and, I call it a disorganization since NO functions are being lost they are just being redistributed to other combatant commands with NO federal employee layoffs but 2000 to 3000 contractors are loosing their jobs. I was one of them.

Also, Jerry, I understand your frustration. Age discrimination is alive and rampant and very difficult to prove. You have a great interview; they tell you your skills are exactly what they are looking for and someone younger gets the job.