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Good News about Social Security

Posted On: June 12, 2024

By: Todd Villarrubia

Todd M. Villarrubia, an authority in wealth planning and preservation, brings over 30 years of in-depth, experience to the complex challenges of safeguarding familial and individual wealth. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, his expertise is not only recognized in the local community but also reverberates within the legal industry.
social security news
For a long time, the Social Security Trustees have been warning that the retirement benefits system is facing some future financial hardships.

The simplest explanation is that Social Security is paying out more than is being collected and going into the trust funds to make up the difference. If this were to continue, the trust funds would be exhausted at some point, and the only money for benefits would be revenue being collected at the present time. However, there is no need to worry, says this article “Social Security Retirees Just Got Some Good news About Future Benefit Cuts” from yahoo! finance.

While future cuts are a possibility, there’s also good news, according to the 2024 Social Security Trustees Report. The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Fund will be able to continue to pay full benefits until 2033. If nothing changes, there must be a 21% benefit cut. The Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund is anticipated to be able to pay benefits until at least 2098.

What would happen if the OASI Fund were emptied? A few things could happen. A law change could combine the OASI and DI funds. Because this is a real possibility, the trustees share data on when the combined funds might be emptied.

In 2023, the Trustees Report said the combined funds would pay full benefits until 2034, but this year’s report shows there’s enough money to pay full benefits until 2035. It also notes that if any cuts were to go into effect, the money coming into Social Security from the combined funds would be able to pay 83% of promised benefits, up from 80% in 2023.

These may sound like small improvements but indicate a trend in the right direction. Much of this is due to stronger-than-expected economic growth, which has led to improved labor productivity and lower projections for long-term disability insurance benefits. Taken together, Social Security’s long-term stability is looking good.

The additional year means any benefit cuts will be smaller than previously anticipated. If needed, Congress could also act to fund the trust funds. There’s still reason to worry about what might happen in 2035, since many seniors count on Social Security to fund most of their retirement.

Lawmakers will unlikely allow this program to be defunded, since seniors continue to be a major voting bloc. Similar situations occurred in the early 1980s, and Congress passed amendments to protect the program.

The new issue? Those amendments from forty years ago included a change to Full Retirement Age, when a person may collect an unreduced benefit. They also imposed a tax on some benefits for high-wage earners. As a result, there may be changes in the future.

Overall, though, the news is good. Hopefully, the good economic news will keep coming to protect Social Security, giving lawmakers more time to figure out ways to fund this vital program.

Reference: yahoo! finance (May 16, 2024) “Social Security Retirees Just Got Some Good news About Future Benefit Cuts”

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