Social Security is the promise made by the government to the hardworking American people. A portion of your every paycheck is withheld and placed in a common pool that you will one day benefit from. This promise is the reason we do not object, well, not all the time, to having a fraction of our hard-earned dollars taken away. We count on and rely upon the knowledge that one day in the future it will all have been worth it. It is the safety net for our own retirement savings plan and the hallmark of our government’s care for the well-being of its citizens. But what if this plan became unstable? What if this carefully laid out, thought-through scheme crumbled because of an unexpected disaster? What can the Social Security fund handle without collapsing?
Social Security is funded by current, working taxpayers. A portion of their income is withheld from each paycheck, which is listed as FICA taxes on paystubs. This tax is paid into a fund in the government that is then distributed to current citizens collecting Social Security benefits. The inherent flaw soon to trace cracks through the system is settled in the manner in which the fund is set up. It is not a savings account that citizens pay into, the fund takes the current revenue and uses this to pay the current beneficiaries their benefits. This system was already displaying fault lines with the decline in population regeneration. Less Americans were paying into the fund because the working population was not proportionate to the number of people collecting benefits. But these fault lines will soon crack open to swallow whole the remaining stores of the Social Security fund.
A recent report from the Social Security Administration detailed the expectancy of the fund’s insolvency by 2035. This report was introduced before the full extent of the effects of the coronavirus were studied. Since this time, it is proposed by some experts that instead of bankruptcy in 2035, we could expect the collapse of the fund as soon as 2028. Insolvency does not necessarily mean the complete fallout of payments to retired Americans, it means that benefits will be slashed. Only a percentage of what is owed will be available. These cuts will only grow as time goes on.
The timeline has been stepped up due to the effects of the pandemic on the working population. With the number of Americans unemployed reaching the same rates as those last seen during the Great Depression, those able to pay into the fund have bottomed out. Moreover, those recently unemployed due to the pandemic that are near the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, many will elect to start drawing benefits earlier than anticipated in order to make up for the unexpected income loss. With no revenue from which to draw upon to pay benefits, the Social Security Administration is drawing upon its miniscule reserves to pay beneficiaries. Further, Congress has permitted employers to delay payments of their Social Security payroll tax for two years, a further depletion of the immediate stores in the fund. Ongoing reforms may become a necessity in order to save the Social Security fund, including changes to eligibility, the amount allotted to individuals, and increases to payroll taxes. Time will be the only indicator of the future of these benefits.
If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability benefits, please give us a call. We have an active practice appealing the denial of benefits. Also, as we have since 1967, we will continue to protect the legal rights of our clients – those who are hurt on the job while working for Alabama employers. If you are seeking SSDI benefits or have been injured on the job and want to learn your rights, please consider contacting the Nomberg Law Firm. Our office number is 205-395-0383.
Bernard D. Nomberg has been a lawyer for more than 20 years. Bernard has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. In 2019, Bernard was named a Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.