This helpful article from the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch outlines ten things the Social Security Administration won’t tell you. In addition to offering some useful advice for retirees, it also points out inherent weaknesses in the system and and underscores the dangers of putting off real reform any longer. Among the most alarming facts are the following:
– The SSA is taking in less in taxes than it is paying out in benefits
– Increases in disability claims are draining the trust fund faster than expected
– Payroll taxes are higher and benefits are lower than they were a generation ago
– Social Security benefits can be subject to taxation if you have substantial income from other sources
– Cost of living adjustments understate the expenses faced by seniors
The fact that these concerns point both to the seemingly contradictory issues of shrinking benefits for retirees and looming insolvency for the program as a whole is telling. There are clearly deep structural problems with Social Security that need to be addressed, and sooner rather than later.