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News Items, by Subject

Social Security - reform

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[Opinion] A Slightly Different Actuarial Perspective on the 2018 Social Security Trustees Report
"Since there are no mechanisms in current Social Security law to automatically adjust tax rates or benefits when the system falls out of 75-year actuarial balance or falls out of 'Sustainable Solvency', there is no way to 'ensure' Sustainable Solvency over a period longer than one year.... [A]chieving sustainable solvency with reform changes does not mean that the system's financial problems will be solved forever[.]" (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Social Security Cost Estimates for S. 3147, the Social Security Administration Fairness Act (PDF)
"[T]he proposal would make both Social Security monthly benefits and Medicare coverage available beginning with the first full month after the onset of disability.... [E]limination of these waiting periods ... would increase (worsen) the long-range OASDI actuarial deficit by 0.17 percent of taxable payroll, and would increase the annual deficit for the OASDI program by 0.19 percent of payroll for 2091." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
An Actuarial Perspective on the 2018 Social Security Trustees Report (PDF)
10 pages. "Social Security's short-range OASDI financial projection is worse than the projection made a year ago.... Moving the short-range estimate period forward one year reduced the fund ratio by 18 percentage points ... The actuarial balance worsened, from a negative 2.83 percent to a negative 2.84 percent, from the 2017 to the 2018 Trustees Report." (American Academy of Actuaries)
Retirement of Baby Boomers Stresses Social Security
"In 1980, there were 19 adults 65 years and older in America for every 100 people between 18 to 64[.] ... This ratio ... increased to a ratio of 21 to 100 in 2010.... However, between 2010 and 2017 ... the ratio of retiree-aged people to working-aged people [increased] to 25 for every 100.... The concern of this stress on retirement programs ... came to light when the first wave of baby boomers turned 65 in 2011. An additional 10,000 turn 65 each day ... and with declining birth rates (the lowest in 30 years), the concern continues to grow." (U.S. News & World Report)
Wake Up, Millennials: What the Latest Social Security Trustees Report is Telling You
"If Congress takes no action to close this gap prior to 2034, system benefits will effectively be reduced by 21%, across-the-board at that time. To put the program back in long-term balance prior to 2034 will require something like a 22% across-the-board decrease in benefits or a 28% increase in the payroll tax[.]" (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Working Longer
"In the two decades since the project began, the dramatic decline in men's labor force participation has ended and been replaced by sharply rising participation rates. Older women's participation has been rising as well.... [The authors] document trends in participation and employment and also consider factors that may help to explain these changes in behavior." (National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER]; purchase required for full document)
Social Security: Options for Potential New Automatic Adjustment Features (PDF)
"Under an automatic adjustment approach, changes to keep the system in positive long-range actuarial balance would be made on a periodic basis. These changes could be in the form of an increase in revenue, an adjustment in the total projected benefits over the recipients' lifetimes, or some combination of the two.... This issue brief examines automatic adjustment options, including their advantages and disadvantages." (American Academy of Actuaries)
A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty Among Older Social Security Recipients
"[The authors] propose an effective and relatively inexpensive targeted program to provide a minimally adequate floor to old-age income through the program. This minimum benefit plan would provide a cost-effective method for reducing elder poverty to low levels. A key element is that the benefit would not count toward other social programs' income eligibility thresholds. Other aspects include an income-tested benefit that would bring beneficiaries to the poverty threshold; application by filing of a 1040 income tax return; and setting of benefit levels and distribution through the Social Security Administration." (Urban Institute)
Estimates of the Financial Effects on Social Security of H.R. 4584, the 'Student Security Act of 2017' (PDF)
"H.R. 4584 specifies that for every $550 (in 2018 dollars) in student loan balance that a person chooses to have forgiven, his or her [earliest eligibility age] and [normal retirement age] would be increased by one month.... [These] estimates [assume] that one-half of eligible student loan amounts would be forgiven with this offer.... [T]he long-range OASDI actuarial deficit would decrease from 2.83 percent of payroll under current law to 2.52 percent of payroll assuming enactment of the Bill." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Changes to CBO's Long-Term Social Security Projections Since 2016
"This report explains the changes to CBO's long-term Social Security projections since last year. Compared with those made in July 2016, CBO's latest projections indicate a slight improvement in the financial outlook for Social Security." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
Social Security: The Trust Funds (PDF)
21 pages. "This report covers how the Social Security program is financed and how the Social Security trust funds work. It will be updated annually to reflect current projections of the financial status of the Social Security trust funds." [Report RL33028, Sept. 12, 2017] (Congressional Research Service [CRS])
Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? (PDF)
21 pages. "If a trust fund became depleted, there would be a conflict between two federal laws.... [B]eneficiaries would still be legally entitled to their full scheduled benefits. However ... the Social Security Administration (SSA) would not have legal authority to pay full Social Security benefits on time.... After insolvency, Social Security would continue to receive tax income, from which a majority of scheduled benefits could be paid.... Social Security beneficiaries would remain legally entitled to full, timely benefits and could take legal action to claim the balance of their benefits." [Report RL33514, Sept. 12, 2017] (Congressional Research Service [CRS])
Estimates of the Financial Effects on Social Security of H.R. 3112, the 'Providing Choice for Social Security Retirees Act' (PDF)
"H.R. 3112, the 'Providing Choice for Social Security Retirees Act' ... would provide a 'partial lump sum' option for workers becoming initially entitled for retired worker benefits in 2019 or later at an age older than their normal retirement age (NRA). At the time of their initial benefit entitlement (that is, the first month for which benefits will be received), these workers could choose to receive a lump sum amount equivalent to 2 percent (one-fourth of the value) of any 8 percent delayed retirement credits (DRCs) earned up to that time.... Table 1 ... presents annual and 75-year-summarized cost rates, income rates, balances, and changes in annual balances for the OASDI program under the proposal.... [F]or the latter years of the long-range projection period shown in Table 1, enactment of the proposal would have a relatively small net effect on OASDI cost." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
[Opinion] Social Security: A Promise Breaking?
"While Social Security is not going 'bankrupt,' it's clear it will have to change in both a fundamental and disruptive way. For this reason, many financial professionals are telling their younger clients to plan on not receiving Social Security when they retire." (Fiduciary News)
[Opinion] The American Academy of Actuaries Stumbles on Social Security 'Sustainable Solvency'
"The condition of 'Sustainable Solvency' developed by the SSA actuaries is based on exact realization of assumptions made today about the next 75 years.... [T]here exists no mechanism in current Social Security law to maintain actuarial balance (or Sustainable Solvency) over time. Therefore, a condition of Sustainable Solvency achieved at the time of eventual System reform will not guarantee or 'ensure' sustainable solvency for any specific period of time, and the AAA's call for implementation of a solution 'to ensure sustainable solvency of Social Security' is, in our opinion, potentially misleading to the public, Congress and other intended users of the AAA's Issue Brief." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
An Actuarial Perspective on the 2017 Social Security Trustees Report (PDF)
11 pages. "The combined Social Security trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted during 2034, the same year as projected in last year's report. If changes are not implemented by that date, only about 77 percent of scheduled benefits would be payable after 2034, declining to 73 percent in 2091.... To bring Social Security into actuarial balance for the next 75 years ... changes equivalent to either an immediate increase of 2.76 percentage points in the payroll tax rate, or an immediate decrease of about 17 percent of benefits for all current and future beneficiaries, or some combination thereof, is required." (American Academy of Actuaries)
Estimates of the Financial Effects on Social Security of the 'Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act' (PDF)
22 pages. "Assuming enactment of the proposal, the projected trust fund reserve depletion year for theoretical combined OASDI and DI Trust Funds would be extended to 2059. Under current law, the projected trust fund reserve depletion year for the combined trust funds is 2034." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
[Opinion] Social Security Slouches Towards Insolvency
"Each year since 2010, Social Security has been operating at a cash flow deficit, meaning the annual costs exceed income from payroll taxes and the taxation of benefits. In 2022, the annual program costs will be more than total income, which also includes interest on the trust fund assets. At this point the trust fund will be drawn down. By 2034, the trust fund will be exhausted, at which point tax income would only be enough to pay for 77 percent of benefits." (Charles Blahous, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research)
Estimates of the Financial Effects on Social Security of H.R. 2855, the Social Security for Future Generations Act of 2017 (PDF)
"Assuming enactment of the proposal, the projected trust fund reserve depletion year for the theoretical combined OASI and DI Trust Funds would be extended to 2049. Under current law, the projected trust fund reserve depletion year for the combined trust funds is 2034. The proposal includes six provisions ... with direct effects on the OASDI program." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Social Security Actuary Estimates Effect of Proposed Reduction of Payroll Tax Rate (PDF)
"The proposal would reduce the employee portion of the payroll tax rate from 6.2 to 4.2 percent on annual earnings below the applicable threshold; the employer portion would remain at 6.2 per cent. The tax rate for self-employed workers would be reduced from 12.4 to 10.4 percent on annual earnings below the applicable threshold.... [T]hat enactment of this proposal would increase the long-range OASDI actuarial deficit by about 0.77 percent of taxable payroll, from 2.66 percent of payroll under current law to 3.43 percent of payroll under the proposal." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
[Opinion] Why Raising Social Security's 'Full Retirement Age' Is a Bad Idea
"[T]he retirement age has little to do with how long people work, and a lot to do with how much money they get.... [As] the FRA rises from 66 to 67, the worker retiring at 62 sees his monthly benefit cut from 75% to 70%of the full benefit. The worker who increases his retirement age from 66 to 67 sees no cut in the monthly benefit but receives benefits for one less year, reducing his lifetime benefit. So raising the FRA is a cut in benefits either way." (Alicia H. Munnell, in MarketWatch)
The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income: Recent Evidence and Implications for the Social Security Retirement Age (PDF)
34 pages. "This report provides a brief overview of the concept of life expectancy, how it is measured, and how it has changed over time in the United States. While life expectancy may be studied in a variety of contexts, this report focuses on the link between life expectancy and [socioeconomic status], as measured by lifetime income. In particular, this report synthesizes recent research on [1] the life expectancy gap by in come and [2] the relationship between this gap and Social Security benefits. Finally, this report discusses the implications of this research for one type of Social Security reform proposal: increasing the Social Security retirement age." [CRS Report R44846, May 12, 2017] (Congressional Research Service [CRS])
[Opinion] New Approach to Social Security's Full Retirement Age Would Eliminate 83% of Cash Shortfall
"[The Save Our Social Security Act of 2016 (S.O.S. Act)] may be best remembered as providing a unique solution to Social Security's full retirement age that would eliminate a whopping 83% of the program's budgetary shortfall ... The S.O.S. Act would continue raising the FRA by two months per year between 2022 and 2034 until it hits age 69 in 2034. At this point, the FRA would be indexed to longevity ... At the same time, the maximum age for delayed retirement credits would increase in step with the full retirement age, keeping a three-year gap in place." (Motley Fool)
Proposed 'Social Security 2100 Act' Cuts Taxes, Strengthens Benefits, Ensures Social Security Through This Century
"Over 11 million Social Security recipients would see a tax cut ... [The bill provides] a modest increase for all beneficiaries starting in 2016, equivalent to 2% of the average benefit.... [and improves] the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula ... The new minimum benefit will be set at 25% above the poverty line rather than below it.... [The bill would] phase in an increase in the contribution that, for the average worker, equals an additional 50 cents per week every year to keep the system solvent.... This legislation would apply the payroll tax to wages above $400,000." (Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.))
Estimated Effect on Social Security Solvency of Proposed Social Security 2100 Act (PDF)
24 pages. "Assuming enactment of [the Social Security 2100 Act], we estimate that the combined Social Security Trust Fund would be fully solvent (able to pay all scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis) throughout the 75-year projection period ... In addition, under this proposal the OASDI program would meet the further conditions for sustainable solvency, because projected combined trust fund reserves would be growing as a percentage of the annual cost of the program at the end of the long-range period." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Older People's Willingness to Delay Social Security Claiming (PDF)
"[H]alf of the respondents would delay claiming if no work requirement were in place under the status quo, and only slightly fewer, 46 percent, with a work requirement. [The authors] also asked respondents how large a lump sum they would need with or without a work requirement. In the former case, the average amount needed to induce delayed claiming was about $60,400, while when part-time work was required, the average was $66,700. This implies a low utility value of leisure foregone of only $6,300, or about 10 percent of older households' income." (Michigan Retirement Research Center [MRRC])
CBO Explains Options for the Future of the Social Security Program
"While delivering testimony at Congressional hearings in February, CBO's Director was asked a number of questions about potential changes to Social Security. Because answers during hearings are inherently brief, this blog post provides some additional information." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
[Opinion] The Dangers of Cutting Future Retirement Benefits for the Young
"Social Security ... faces a long-term imbalance in cost and revenue, but the gap is manageable. More importantly, future retirees will need Social Security more, not less, than their parents did.... [L]ongevity is rising.... Savings alone cannot hedge against longevity risk ... 57 percent of near-retirement households (age 55-64) that participate in workplace retirement plans are covered by a traditional pension, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security; just 30 percent for age 35-44 are covered." (Reuters)
OIG Report: $1 Billion Paid by Social Security to Individual Representative Payees Who Do Not Have a Social Security Number (PDF)
20 pages. "SSA is required to obtain the SSNs of representative payee applicants. SSA uses the representative payee's SSN to [1] verify the payee's identifying information; [2] determine whether the payee applicant is receiving Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income; [3] determine whether the applicant is a convicted felon; and [4] determine whether the applicant previously served as a representative payee and has a history of poor payee performance or misuse.... [OIG estimates] that 22,426 beneficiaries had an individual representative payee who did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application.... From April 2006 to September 2016, SSA paid these representative payees about $1 billion." (Office of the Inspector General [OIG], Social Security Administration [SSA])
Estimates of the Financial Effects of the Proposed 'Social Security Expansion Act' (PDF)
21 pages. "Assuming enactment of the proposal, we estimate the year of depletion of the combined OASI and DI Trust Fund reserves would be extended from 2034 under current law to 2078[.]" (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
CBO Now Projects 31% Cut in Social Security Benefits Will Be Needed by 2031
"[CBO] is now reporting that the combined Social Security retirement and disability trust funds will be depleted in fiscal year 2029 -- five years earlier than the trustees of the two funds had projected earlier this year in their annual report.... CBO's projections on the following are lower than those by the Social Security Trust Fund trustees: [1] earnings subject to the program's payroll tax [2] labor force participation rates, productivity growth, lower inflation ... [3] fertility rates ... [4] real interest rates ... in the long run[.]" (ThinkAdvisor)
CBO Supplement to 2016 Long-Term Projections for Social Security
"This report presents additional information about CBO's long-term projections for Social Security in the form of 12 exhibits that illustrate the program's finances ... In addition to presenting projections of scheduled, or full, Social Security benefits ... this report provides projections of payable benefits, which would be less than the scheduled amounts once the trust funds were exhausted ... The appendix presents information about CBO's demographic projections[.]" (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
Millennials Will Need to Save More Under Rep. Sam Johnson's Social Security Reform Proposal
"[W]hile most participants in Social Security would experience some degree of benefit reduction relative to current law under the Johnson proposal, benefits for Millennials and generations that follow would be most affected.... [W]hile the anticipated reductions for Millennials relative to current law are significant, they are not much larger than reductions required if no reform action is taken.... Millennials may want to factor proposals like this one in their current spending/savings decisions." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Overcoming Barriers to Retirement Security for Women: The Role of Social Security (PDF)
16 pages. "Enhancing Social Security benefits would be an effective strategy for improving women's retirement security -- especially for women 75 or older, who face a significantly greater risk of poverty than their male counterparts. Expanding benefits would require increasing system revenue beyond what is necessary to close the projected long-term shortfall. Provisions that increase benefits for low earners, caregivers, or older seniors, or modernize benefits for certain marital statuses such as the divorced and survivors, would address the challenges that women particularly face." (National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI])
Estimates of the Financial Effects on Social Security of H.R. 6489, the Social Security Reform Act of 2016 (PDF)
30 pages. "Assuming enactment of the plan, we estimate that the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds would be fully solvent (able to pay all scheduled benefits in full on a timely basis) throughout the 75-year projection period, under the intermediate assumptions of the 2016 Trustees Report. In addition, under this plan the OASDI program would meet the further conditions for sustainable solvency, because projected combined trust fund reserves would be growing as a percentage of the annual cost of the program at the end of the long-range period." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
[Opinion] Why Is the American Academy of Actuaries Painting Such a Rosy Picture of Social Security's Long-Term Financing Problems?
"Under either set of assumptions, we are talking about significantly higher tax revenue shortfalls than the 23% figure claimed to 'fix' the System in the [American Academy of Actuaries'] Social Security Game. If you prefer to think in terms of necessary benefit reductions rather than required tax increases, the percentages are about 25% under the Trustees' assumptions and about 30% under the CBO assumptions.... It appears likely that those with relatively higher incomes (young and old) will be asked to bear a significant portion of the increased cost in this next round of System reform." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
[Opinion] Would Lifting the Taxable Earnings Cap Make Social Security Solvent? (PDF)
"What would happen if the taxable earnings cap were lifted entirely? The Social Security Trustees calculated different 'solvency provisions' and how they would affect the funding gap. Three are discussed [in this article]." (National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA])
The Social Security Retirement Age (PDF)
10 pages. "The full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which workers can claim full Social Security retired worker benefits. The size of the monthly benefits is affected by when the worker claims benefits. The worker's age when claiming benefits is compared with the FRA, and adjustments are made depending on the number of months before or after the FRA the worker claims benefits.... The FRA was 65 at the inception of Social Security, but has been gradually increased upwards, to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Claiming benefits past age 70 does not increase the monthly benefits." [Report R44670, Oct. 28, 2016] (Congressional Research Service [CRS])
[Opinion] Looking in the Wrong Places for Social Security Reform
"[At] some points in the program's history, a significant portion of workers had earnings above the tax cap, but this was in the earlier years of its operation when more than a quarter of workers were above it. Over the past 30 years this share of workers has fluctuated in a narrow band around 6 percent. Looking at it another way, the percentage of total earnings that are subject to the tax was 82.7 percent in 2014. While this is slightly below the high point in the early 1980s, it is just below the average since 1950." (Cato Institute)
Updated Estimate of Financial Effect on Social Security of the Bipartisan Policy Committee Reform Plan (PDF)
26 pages. "Assuming enactment of the plan, the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds would be fully solvent throughout the 75-year projection period, under the intermediate assumptions of the 2016 Trustees Report.... Enactment of the twelve provisions of the Commission's plan would change the long-range OASDI actuarial deficit from 2.66 percent of taxable payroll under current law to a positive actuarial balance of 0.11 percent of payroll under the plan." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
[Opinion] Got Those 'Conflicting Social Security Deficit Estimate' Blues Again
"Common sense tells us that rather than waiting to have Congress make very significant changes to the Nation's retirement program every thirty years or so to put it back into actuarial balance, it would be preferable to have minor changes made on a more frequent basis.... [A]utomatic adjustments to the system's tax and/or benefit structure [would] maintain the system's actuarial balance.... This is what is done in almost all financial programs funded using basic actuarial principles." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Testimony: Comparing CBO's Long-Term Projections with Those of the Social Security Trustees
"For some time, both CBO and the Social Security Trustees have projected that, if full benefits were paid under the formulas specified in current law, the program's spending would rise significantly during the coming decades. In contrast, total revenues for the program are anticipated to grow more slowly than outlays: The faster growth projected for total benefits than for total revenues means that a shortfall in the program's finances is expected to continue. Although both CBO and the Trustees project such a shortfall, they differ in their assessment of its magnitude. This testimony describes that difference and the major factors that contribute to it." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
The Life Cycle Model, Replacement Rates, and Retirement Income Adequacy
"A replacement rate calculation more consistent with the life cycle model would compare retirement income to an average of real earnings calculated over a significant number of years. Such an approach would find substantially higher replacement rates for the typical retiree." (Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise Institute, via SSRN)
Financial Effects on Social Security of the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2016 (PDF)
21 pages. "Assuming enactment of the proposal, ... the funding for the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds would be sufficient to extend the projected year of reserve depletion from 2034 to 2048 ... [E]stimates for the combined trust funds are consistent with an intent to reallocate the total payroll tax rate as needed to equalize the years of reserve depletion and the actuarial status of the two separate trust funds." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Distributional Effects of Applying Social Security Taxes to Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Premiums
"This policy brief analyzes how applying the Social Security tax to employer-sponsored health insurance premiums could affect Social Security beneficiaries.... [F]or most Social Security beneficiaries aged 60 or older from 2017 to 2080, benefits would gradually increase and the poverty rate would decrease faster than the rate under current law. Counting employer-sponsored health insurance premiums as wages for Social Security purposes would increase Social Security taxes for most individuals and those taxes would increase more than Social Security benefits for individuals at all earning levels." (Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
[Opinion] A Longevity Insurance Benefit for Social Security: An Innovation from the Past
"A longevity insurance benefit as part of Social Security would be particularly desirable as part of a reform package to restore solvency if the package also included a reduction of benefits, such as raising the Normal Retirement Age. The longevity insurance benefit would reduce or eliminate the adverse effects of such a cut on the most vulnerable age group. A simple form of such a benefit would be to exempt persons age 82 and older from any benefit cuts." (National Academy of Social Insurance [NASI])
Social Security Changes Likely Soon
"The S.O.S. Act charts a course of least resistance in the changes it proposes to keep Social Security solvent. If these changes don't result in a meaningful improvement in Social Security's funding outlook, the following more painful changes may be in the offing: Means testing.... Increases to the payroll tax.... Longevity indexing.... Incentives to keep working." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
How Work and Marriage Trends Affect Social Security's Family Benefits
"Social Security's spousal and survivor ('family') benefits were designed in the 1930s for a one-earner married couple.... Single mothers who were never married are not eligible for family benefits, nor are divorced women who were married less than 10 years. These women often find it harder to earn an adequate Social Security benefit on their own, as their work opportunities are constrained by child-rearing duties. Policy experts have suggested ways to help: Earnings sharing among married couples could raise benefits for women who later become divorced. Caregiving credits could help mothers regardless of their marital status." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
Spending for Social Security and Major Health Care Programs in the Long-Term Budget Outlook
"CBO projects that spending for Social Security would increase noticeably as a share of the economy -- from 4.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 to 6.3 percent in 2046 -- if current laws generally remained unchanged. Spending for the major health care programs is projected to grow even faster: Net outlays for those programs would increase from 5.5 percent of GDP now to 8.9 percent in 2046." (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
[Opinion] We Need a Bipartisan Solution for Sustaining Social Security
"The [Bipartisan Policy Center's] package of reforms to Social Security is balanced, containing a roughly even mix of revenue increases and benefit savings (such as increasing the retirement age to reflect increasing longevity and using a more accurate measure of inflation for cost-of-living adjustments). In addition to greatly improving work incentives, [these] policies would ensure the program's sustainability for 75 years and beyond, according to modeling by the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration." (U.S. News & World Report)
Proposed Changes to Social Security: SSA Actuary Estimates Financial Effects (PDF)
22 pages. "H.R. 5747, the S.O.S. Act of 2016 ... includes seven provisions with direct effects on the Social Security Trust Funds.... Assuming enactment of the proposal, the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds would be fully solvent throughout the 75-year projection period, under the intermediate assumptions of the 2015 Trustees Report." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Proposed Changes to Social Security for Public Employees: SSA Actuary Estimates Financial Effects (PDF)
"[This letter provides an] estimate of the financial effects on the Social Security Trust Funds of the amendment in the nature of a substitute ... for H.R. 711, the 'Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act of 2015' ... This amendment would generally replace the windfall elimination provision (WEP) with a new formula that you have referred to as the 'Public Servant Fairness Formula' (PSF). The proposal would also provide for a rebate payment starting in 2018 for individuals affected by the current WEP." (Office of the Chief Actuary, U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Independent Citizens Advisory Committee Report on Sonoma County, California, Pension Issues: Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations
99 pages, dated June 2016. "[Recommendations include:] [1] Aggressively pursue the sharing of pension costs with employees through continuing supplemental payments ... beyond 2024, sharing normal costs 50/50, and assuming some of the risks of plan gains and losses.... [2] Implement a new tier that is a hybrid plan of defined benefits and defined contributions, which [the Committee deems] to be a more effective plan to meet pension reform objectives than current plans.... Until this can be achieved, negotiate for ever higher employee contributions through collective bargaining, since this is the best tool available to control pension costs available to the County in the short term." (Sonoma County Independent Citizens Advisory Committee on Pension Matters)
Proposed Changes to the Social Security Program, Described and Grouped by Category
"Recent Reports call for informed discussion, creative thinking, and timely legislation to address expected future deficits. Many policy makers have developed proposals and options to address this long-range solvency problem. Listed [in this article] is a broad range of policy options that would address Trust Fund solvency and other issues related to Social Security benefits and financing. Many of these options are part of comprehensive proposals intended to restore Trust Fund solvency." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Social Security's Financial Outlook: The 2016 Update in Perspective
"The 2016 Trustees Report shows virtually no change: Social Security's 75-year deficit is 2.66 percent of payroll, just a hair below the 2015 projection. The deficit as a percentage of GDP remains at about 1 percent. Trust fund exhaustion is still 2034, after which payroll taxes still cover about three quarters of promised benefits. The shortfall is manageable, but action should be taken soon to restore confidence in the program and give people time to adjust to needed changes." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
How to Raise the Retirement Age for People Who Want to Work
"One idea is to raise the normal retirement age to, say, 70, but make it easier for older people to go on disability.... A streamlined alternative would be to base the normal retirement age on a worker's occupation -- raising it higher for deskbound jobs.... A sliding scale would seem suitable for an aging workforce, since getting old is one long process of sliding downhill in terms of ability to work.... [T]he share of people working above the traditional retirement age, while higher than in recent decades, remains lower in percentage terms than it was in the 1940s and 1950s." (Bloomberg)
[Opinion] Commission Proposes Comprehensive Changes to Strengthen U.S. Retirement System
"By far the most controversial recommendations to strengthen our retirement system are the ones regarding Social Security.... The Commission notes that their proposed package of changes would not only solve the 75-year actuarial deficit, but it would also result in 'sustainable solvency' as that term is defined by the Social Security actuary.... [T]hese conclusions are valid only if the 2015 Trustees assumptions are exactly realized (or are more favorable) and not changed over the next 75 years." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Social Security Disability Insurance: Participation and Spending
"Under current law, CBO projects, the number of DI beneficiaries would rise by 0.8 percent per year over the next decade; excluding the effects of inflation, the average benefit would rise by 0.9 percent per year and total spending on benefits would rise by 1.9 percent per year, on average.... [U]nder current law spending would exceed income after 2018, and the trust fund would be exhausted in 2022[.]" (Congressional Budget Office [CBO])
[Opinion] Obama's Misguided Reversal on Social Security Expansion
"[Obama had] previously supported a change in the way benefits were adjusted each year that would have reduced the growth rate of benefits over a long timeframe in the interest of improving the program's fiscal trajectory.... [He recently] signalled that he no longer believed 'all options were on the table' to address solvency concerns and instead supports further expansion.... If his favored reforms are implemented it will increase the economic distortions introduced by Social Security and do nothing to address its serious fiscal problems." (Cato Institute)
[Opinion] Should Congress Raise the Social Security Full Retirement Age to 70?
"If the full retirement age were raised, future retirees with high lifetime earnings can expect to receive some compensation when their monthly benefits are cut. Because they can expect to live longer than today's retirees, they will receive benefits for a longer span of years after 65. For low-wage workers, there is no compensation. Since they are not living longer, their lifetime benefits will fall by the same proportion as their monthly benefits." (The Brookings Institution)
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