SOCIAL SECURITY TRUSTEES REPORT, 2011

Aug 24th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Trustees’ Annual Report Highlights Social Security Strengths

The 2011 annual report of the Social Security Trustees was published in May, 2011.  The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare provides an introduction to the report summary, including highlights from the report:

“Throughout our nation’s recent recession, Social Security has demonstrated its strength by paying benefits to those who are entitled to them and functioning as the program was intended to function (emphasis added). Still, we see in the 2011 Report of the Social Security Trustees signs of the recession’s effect. But there’s still some good news for working Americans and for seniors in the trustees’ new report. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Social Security remains strong, despite the lingering effects of the recession, and will be able to pay full benefits for the next 25 years – until 2036.
  • Despite the gloom and doom rhetoric of those who want to cut Social Security to balance the budget, the program continues to run an annual surplus. That surplus is projected to be $60 billion in 2011.
  • The Trust Funds currently have a surplus of $2.6 trillion. This surplus is projected to grow until 2022. At that time the balance in the trust funds are projected to be $3.7 trillion.” (www.ncpssm.org)

The COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) in Social Security seems to be a significant issue now.  High healthcare costs take a big chunk out of our pocketbooks; most seniors know that Medicare doesn’t cover everything.  According to the Trustees’ report, in the next 70 years, our out-of-pocket costs for health care will jump from 27% of our income to 46%.  Yikes!

Social Security COLA Needs Scrutiny

Part of the ‘solution’ to the debt crisis that is being considered is a change to adjusting the COLA.  We seniors cannot afford this.  The calculation needs to be based on our unique spending patterns.  We don’t spend money like our children and grandchildren.  And the Social Security COLA needs to be based on a plan that doesn’t eviscerate over time.

Retirement savings have tanked along with housing values.  And that means we need Social Security more than we have ever needed it before… well, at least as much as in its initial stages.  What we are learning is that Social Security is working just like it was intended: We seniors have financial security in difficult economic times.  The NCPSSM says, “Social Security smooths the risks of these economic cycles over large groups of people and long periods of time, and it remains the most secure retirement income in America .”

A note to our elected officials:  Your challenge is to be certain Social Security is protected so it is available to the senior citizens of this country now and in the future.  Don’t weaken it.  Don’t try to solve the deficit issues with the program that ever-increasing numbers of seniors depend upon for our very survival.  If you cannot improve it, keep your hands off.



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  1. [...] SCJ has said numerous times over the past several years that many seniors depend on their Social Security benefits for survival.  The ssa.gov site reports that half of all married couples and 3/4 of all singles depend on Social Security for a minimum of half of their income.  The average monthly benefit for retirees will be $1229 in 2012.  There are approximately 55 million seniors on Social Security in America.  This computes to upwards of 35 million seniors living on very limited fixed incomes. [...]

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