In 2015, about 12 million workers and their dependents received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. While this is slightly fewer than the 12.1 million beneficiaries in 2014, beneficiary growth has averaged about 4 percent a year since 1990.
Despite today’s workplace accommodations for the disabled, improved diagnoses and treatments, and less physically demanding jobs, the number of individuals receiving disability payments has increased dramatically over previous decades. Prior to 1990, the annual percentage of workers receiving benefits grew about half a percent per year.
Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement security in the United States today. A third of Americans depend on the program for almost all their retirement income; without it, one-in-five would have no retirement income. But the program so many depend on simply cannot afford what it promises today’s workers and faces a shortfall of more than $13 trillion over the next 75 years. Reforms are desperately needed.
Congress is once again considering changes to Social Security in an attempt to “save” the program. Social Security benefit payments have exceeded tax revenues since 2010; the funding deficit is growing and, barring reform, will continue to grow indefinitely. Higher tax revenues are necessary to fund benefits as they are currently calculated.
Congress is once again considering changes in Social Security in an attempt to “save” the program. Social Security benefit payments have exceeded tax revenues since 2010; the funding deficit is growing and, barring reform, will continue to grow indefinitely. Higher tax revenues are necessary to fund benefits as they are currently calculated.
Stock market volatility remains one of the primary objections to switching from the current pay-as-you-go method of funding Social Security benefits to a system of prefunded personal retirement accounts. However, three Texas counties that opted out of Social Security 30 years ago have solved the risk problem.
The 2009 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars! That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt.
Every year the Social Security Trustees publish a report on the fiscal solvency of the program. It details the program's unfunded liabilities, which is what the government will still owe after it uses current and future tax receipts to pay for current and future retiree benefits.
The current Social Security system allows individuals to claim reduced, early retirement benefits beginning at age 62. Individuals who wait until the full retirement age to collect receive about 30 percent more in monthly benefits. If they wait until age 70 to collect, their benefits will be about 60 percent larger than at age 62. So what choice should people make?
The 2008 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached $101.7 trillion in today's dollars! That is more than seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt.
The disability insurance component of the U.S. Social Security system is funded by a 1.8 percent payroll tax. It pays benefits to disabled adults who have earned a required number of credits based on previous years of work. The benefit amount is based on the wages taxed for Social Security. Most people do not realize that the system penalizes those who leave the workforce for a few years. The system often penalizes women, who are more likely to move in and out of the workforce.
Americans are living longer and are healthier than previous generations, yet the number of workers receiving disability benefits is increasing. In fact, disability is the fastest-rising component of Social Security — growing at nearly twice the rate of spending on retirement benefits.
The U.S. Treasury Department will release the 2007 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports the afternoon of Monday, April 23. Just after the report is officially released, you are invited to get the inside scoop from the two Public Trustees.
A quarter-century ago, Chile replaced its traditional social security system with personal retirement accounts funded by workers and invested in stocks and bonds. Chile's president recently proposed several modifications to its pension system, including a new retirement benefit funded by general government revenues.
Over the next three decades, the number of retirees will double. However, due to declining fertility rates, the number of workers contributing to the system will fall from three for each retiree receiving benefits to two for each retiree. This will place a severe strain on working Americans to pay promised benefits to the elderly.
Without changes, Social Security and Medicare will grow relative to the earnings and compensation of the workers who fund the programs. Further, the rate at which these entitlement benefits replace preretirement earnings of successive cohorts of retirees will rise. By the time today's teenagers retire, net Medicare and Social Security benefits will rival their average preretirement price-indexed wages.
Critics of President Bush’s Social Security reform proposal have used findings by Robert Shiller, professor of economics at Yale University, to suggest that many workers will lose money if they open personal retirement accounts (PRAs), which are a key component of the president’s reform approach.
The Bush Administration has proposed a two-part Social Security reform plan that would reduce the growth in initial benefit payments awarded to higher earners and allow all younger workers to invest part of their Social Security payroll tax dollars in personal retirement accounts.
President Bush has barnstormed across the country promoting Social Security reform. So far, the president has proposed two primary ideas: 1) Allow younger workers to prefund a portion of their retirement benefits by creating personal retirement accounts equal to 4 percent of wages, and 2) Use "progressive indexing" to reduce the growth in benefits for higher earners.
Social Security reform in the United States has become a nationally debated topic, but privately managed, funded plans are already a component of the social security systems of more than 30 nations around the world.
The current debate over Social Security reform is reminiscent of the discussions that occurred in Galveston County, Texas, in 1980, when county workers were offered a retirement alternative to Social Security: At the time they reacted with keen interest and some knee-jerk fear of the unknown. But after 24 years, folks here can say unequivocally that when Galveston County pulled out of the Social Security system in 1981, we were on the road to providing our workers with a better deal than Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Just how big is the funding shortfall faced by Social Security? What is the cost of delay in implementing a solution? The magnitude of the problem can be quantified in two ways: 1) the funds required each year in addition to projected payroll tax revenues, or 2) the present value of the total additional funding required in all future years.
Britain has used personal accounts in its public pension system longer than any other industrial country. Personal accounts fund individual workers’ retirement benefits through savings, whereas pay-as-you-go systems, including the U.S. Social Security system, fund elderly benefits from current workers’ taxes. The U.K. experience provides a good model of how not to do things in America. It shows that personal accounts can be good or bad, depending on how they are designed.
Social Security reform is at the top of President Bush's second term agenda – and for good reason. In the next decade, two monumental shifts will occur: 1) the first of the 77 million baby boomers will start drawing benefits and stop paying payroll taxes, and 2) funds available to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits will fall increasingly short of promises we have made.
Public pension programs – including the U.S. Social Security system – tax workers to pay current retirees' benefits. But in the United States, as in other developed nations, falling birthrates and rising life expectancies leave fewer workers to support each retiree. Without reform these factors will eventually require large tax increases, large benefit cuts or both to keep the programs alive.