AARP legislative policy director David Certner recently said while AARP does not support cuts in Social Security benefits, they are open to a discussion about raising the retirement age and other changes.
“Everybody knows we need to look at a package of different changes to Social Security to make it strong for the long term,” he said. “The reality is, we have more people older and who are living longer, so we need to make changes. Everybody recognizes that. And we’re certainly willing to talk about a package of changes that will keep Social Security strong.”
He suggested raising the age at which retirees can receive full benefits — currently, 66 years old — would be on the table even though doing so represents “a massive benefit cut for people.”
Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it absorbs in taxes this year which will lead the retirement program’s trust fund to become exhausted in 2036, according to the latest annual trustees report. After 2036, the program will only be able to pay 77 percent of promised benefits. By 2085, it will be able to pay 74 percent of promised benefits.
Social Security is a critically important issue for our members, their families and Americans of all ages, especially at a time when many will have less retirement security than previous generations with fewer pensions, less savings and rising health care costs.
While I am 20 years away from Social Security, I personally acknowledge that we as Americans are living longer, healthier lives and could probably go one more year before applying for Social Security benefits and not notice. Especially for those of us in our 40s or younger. I am personally willing to raise full retirement age one or two years if that will fix the Social Security insolvency issue. I do believe those in their 50s and 60s should not have their retirement age rules changed on them. I also think a small raise in the ceiling of where Social Security taxes cut off could be raise by a small amount and it wouldn’t make a huge difference in most of our pay checks.
What’s important is preserving the system that all of us have spent paying into all our lives. I’d rather wait one more year and get full benefits than have some politicians make us turn this all into stock market accounts that could crash at any given time due to many conditions beyond our control, such as the current instability in European markets.
Just my opinion.