Retirement Income in Jeopardy

March 6, 1981

Report Outline
Mounting Pension Problems
Power of Pension Funds
Recommendations for Change
Special Focus

Mounting Pension Problems

Retiree Apprehension Over Budget Cuts

Retired Americans and those nearing retirement age may have awaited President Reagan's Feb. 18 televised address to Congress with an extra measure of apprehension. For they, more than most of the rest of the population, depend on an array of $215 billion worth of federal social programs. And these programs seemed threatened by the budget-cutter's ax. The retirees were assured by the president that their support programs would not be victims of the $41.4 billion in reductions he asked Congress to make in fiscal year 1982, nor in future budget cuts that are expected to reach $125.9 billion in the next three years. He said:

We will continue to fulfill the obligations that spring from our national conscience. Those who through no fault of their own must depend on the rest of us, the poverty stricken, the disabled, the elderly, all those with true need, can rest assured that the social safety net of programs they depend on are exempt from any cuts….

Still, there were cautionary notes in the president's speech. Social Security benefits and other government programs that aid the aged are not set in concrete. They can be cut or eliminated by Congress, according to changing economic and social conditions. Reagan did, in fact, ask for the liquidation of two Social Security benefits: the minimum monthly payment of $122 for all Social Security annuitants; and the survivor's benefit for students from ages of 18 through 21. Elimination of the two benefits is expected to save $1.7 billion in fiscal year 1982.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Pensions and Retirement
Feb. 17, 2006  Pension Crisis
May 31, 2002  Retirement Security
Nov. 05, 1993  Paying for Retirement
Jul. 21, 1989  Future of Employee Benefits
Mar. 28, 1986  Pension Problems
Mar. 06, 1981  Retirement Income in Jeopardy
Nov. 11, 1977  Mandatory Retirement
May 21, 1976  Pension Problems
Sep. 20, 1967  Pension Plan Safeguards
Feb. 24, 1961  Retirement Age
May 04, 1949  Service Pensions for War Veterans
Jan. 10, 1936  The Bonus and Veterans' Pensions
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security
Social Security