As the years have passed, many Americans, especially younger ones, have begun to worry about Social Security running out of money, perhaps before they’re able to begin collecting it.
In the early 2000s, the question of Social Security reform was frequently broached in the political arena, with President George W. Bush, in his second term, trying and failing to pass a partial privatization of Social Security.
A Nationwide survey earlier this year, as cited by CNBC, found that 71 percent of Americans fear that Social Security will run out of money in their lifetimes-a higher number than prior to the pandemic.
And now, a government report says that Social Security Trust Fund could become depleted sooner than previously thought.
According to a report by 401K Specialist magazine, which cited a July update by the Congressional Budget Office to its 2021 Long-Term Projections for Social Security, the Social Security Trust Fund is scheduled to become depleted in 2032. This is a year later than the date listed in 2020’s report, but is three years earlier than the date in the 2020 Social Security trustees report.
“That now dated 2020 Trustees report finds the combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, the same as it projected in 2019, with 79% of benefits payable at that time. This is assuming there are no changes in taxes and benefits,” the 401K Specialist article said.
“All told, CBO’s projections of income credited to the combined OASDI trust funds are 4.4% higher over the 2021-2032 period than they were last year, and its projections of expenditures are 1.1% higher. Because the increases in projected income more than offset the increases in projected expenditures, CBO now anticipates that the exhaustion date for the combined trust funds will be later than the agency expected last year.”
However, some experts believe that it’s highly unlikely that Social Security will ever actually become insolvent.
“Many people hear the words insolvent or bankrupt and they automatically assume the program is just going to disappear,” Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told CNBC earlier this year. “In reality, Social Security has been around for well over 80 years now and it has more support than just about any other government function… It is highly unlikely that it is going to disappear anytime soon.”
That’s because the program is so popular that it’s likely Congress would intervene in order to shore up its finances in order to keep it going.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.