What if we were to recast regular Social Security as true insurance? Insurance is something that pays out only when things go wrong. If you don’t have a car crash, or your house doesn’t burn down, you don’t get your premiums back later in life. What you do get is protection and peace of mind.
So imagine Social Security as insurance protection against being financially insecure in retirement. If it were that, it would be very different from today.For one thing, we would want the lowest-income retirees to get the largest regular check – assuming they had dutifully paid their payroll tax “premiums” when working – and also enough to keep them comfortably out of poverty without having to rely on SSI. Some retirees with a modest income from, say, an IRA, might still need a small Social Security “insurance payout” to maintain a reasonable standard of living.
In a true insurance model like this, retired Americans with healthy income from assets would get no Social Security check at all, rather than getting the largest checks as they do today. If Social Security is seen as insurance against financial insecurity then Warren Buffet clearly doesn’t need a check. Nor do other older Americans for whom a monthly Social Security check is just a little bit more icing on an already rich cake.
If we reformed Social Security to make it more like real insurance, we’d need to do it gradually so people could plan, with the changes only fully affecting workers who are perhaps in their early 40s today. There would be a significantly higher basic benefit check for the least well-off. For retired singles with retiree income over, say, $25,000 in today’s dollars, the check would be reduced according to income until for a retiree with, say, $100,000 in other income there would be no check at all.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at It’s time to end social security for the rich | Brookings Institution
More people claim at their first opportunity More people claim Social Security at age 62, the earliest opportunity to get benefits, than any other age, according to a study of Social Security data by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Few people wait beyond full retirement age to claim By contrast, only a … Continue reading
US – Protecting Social Security and reducing unemployment, poverty, and the federal budget deficit as most important pool says
With mixed views of the national economy and their own financial situation, Americans want priority given to several different economic problems. In the latest poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the public sees protecting Social Security and reducing unemployment, poverty, and the federal budget deficit as most important to them … Continue reading
Retirement in US – Social Security provides most of the income for about half of households age 65 and older
Many retirees and workers approaching retirement have limited financial resources. About half of households age 55 and older have no retirement savings (such as in a 401(k) plan or an IRA). According to GAO’s analysis of the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, many older households without retirement savings have few other resources, such as a … Continue reading
With lower Social Security replacement rates, vanish- ing traditional pensions, and longer lifespans, many people will need to work longer to ensure a secure retirement. Working longer directly increases current income; it avoids the actuarial reduction in Social Security benefits; it allows people to contribute more to their 401(k) plans; and it shortens the period … Continue reading
This issue brief explores how rising wage inequality has affected the financial outlook of Social Security. We first provide a brief overview of Social Security’s funding structure and its current financial outlook based on the Social Security Administration’s, or SSA’s, most recent projections. Next, we highlight relevant wage trends that have impacted the trust funds’ … Continue reading
Social Security is the federal government’s largest single program. Of the 59 million people who currently receive Social Security benefits, about 71 percent are retired workers or their spouses and children, and another 10 percent are survivors of deceased workers; all of those beneficiaries receive payments through Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). The other 19 … Continue reading
Long-Term Projections for Social Security in US / 58 M people currently receive Social Security benefits
Of those 58 million, about 70 percent are retired workers or their spouses and children, and another 11 percent are survivors of deceased workers; all of those beneficiaries receive payments through Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI). The other 19 percent of beneficiaries are disabled workers or their spouses and children; they receive Disability Insurance (DI) benefits Continue reading
ue to increases in Social Security’s Delayed Retirement Credit, the effective retirement age is now 70, with monthly benefits reduced for earlier claiming Continue reading
The ageing society debate is at the forefront of calls to reduce government deficits. The debate is driven by the proposition that national governments will not be able to afford to maintain the spending necessary to support the growing demands for medical care and pension support as populations age. At some points, the argument goes, … Continue reading