Social Security

June 3, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 21
Is the program running out of money?
By David Hosansky


Winnifred “Winnie” Murphy celebrates her 105th birthday (Getty Images/The Boston Globe/Suzanne Kreiter)
Winnifred “Winnie” Murphy celebrates her 105th birthday in Chelsea, Mass., in 2014. Many of the 49 million retirees and their survivors who receive Social Security payments every month are living longer, financially straining the system. (Getty Images/The Boston Globe/Suzanne Kreiter)

Social Security has guaranteed an income for retirees, their survivors and people with disabilities for more than 80 years. But the landmark New Deal program is paying out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes, and the problem is forecast to get worse. As millions of Baby Boomers — born between 1946 and 1964 — retire, the increasing demands on Social Security threaten to overwhelm the system. Some experts say the $2.8 trillion Social Security trust fund will run out of money within a generation without major changes. Among the proposals: raise payroll taxes, reduce benefits or shift some Social Security money into the stock market. But others reject major reforms and contend that minor adjustments, such as increasing payroll taxes on wealthier workers, would keep the system solvent. Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls differ sharply over whether to drastically change the system, tweak it or even expand it to cover more low-income Americans. Regardless of who wins this year's election, the Social Security debate is expected to persist.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Social Security
Sep. 10, 2021  Social Security
Jun. 03, 2016  Social Security
Sep. 24, 2004  Social Security Reform
Oct. 02, 1998  Saving Social Security
May 12, 1995  Overhauling Social Security
Apr. 05, 1991  Social Security: The Search for Fairness
Dec. 17, 1982  Social Security Options
Jun. 29, 1979  Social Security Reassessment
Dec. 27, 1974  Retirement Security
Sep. 20, 1972  Social Security Financing
Dec. 14, 1966  Social Security Improvements
Mar. 28, 1956  Social Security for the Disabled
Mar. 26, 1953  Social Security Expansion
Aug. 17, 1951  Relief Rolls in Prosperity
Dec. 24, 1949  Pensions for All
Aug. 12, 1948  Security for the Aged
Apr. 11, 1946  Social Insurance
Mar. 02, 1944  Social Security
Dec. 02, 1939  Liberalization of the Social Security System
Oct. 01, 1938  Agitation for Pension and Scrip Schemes
Jul. 26, 1938  Revision of the Social Security Act
Oct. 02, 1936  The Social Security Controversy
Nov. 12, 1934  Federal Assistance to the Aged
Aug. 23, 1930  Public Old-Age Pensions
Budget Process
Economic Crises
Elderly Health Issues
Employee Benefits
Federal Taxes
Investment and the Stock Market
Low Income and Public Housing
Medicaid and Medicare
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regulation and Deregulation
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security