Is Our Social Security Really in Crisis?

By Amanda Roland

Some experts are saying that the year 2034 is being dubbed, as “the year” social security will be in trouble, big trouble. Taking that into account, this may be something that keeps you up at night since you may have been counting on those social security checks as your main source of retirement funds or you may have spent the majority of your working years “knowing” that social security was running out so you have been making other plans. Which camp you are in is most likely directly related to the year in which you were born, however it affects you nonetheless.

Every paycheck you have earned — and your parents and their parents alike — had funds deducted from it to fund social security. That’s the line identified as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Of course the issue is that the funds you are putting in today are writing the checks of those who are already retired. So, while you may have decades to worry about retirement monies, your parents and grandparents may already be relying on it. Where did this all begin?

According to the official Social Security website, “The Social Security Act was signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. Taxes were collected for the first time in January 1937 and the first one-time, lump-sum payments were made that same month. Regular ongoing monthly benefits started in January 1940.”

In 1983, President Ronald Regan made changes to social security funding. At that time, it was believed that those changes would keep the program going until about 2034. There have not been changes made since. Some believe, lawmakers will wait until the last minute to make any sweeping reforms. This was the case in the early 80s where it was known the system was running out of money for years prior to the changes being made just shy of months of a crisis. A Marketwatch story outlines that by the year 2020 (that’s now if you’re losing count) the SSA (Social Security Administration) will be paying out more in benefits than what’s being paid into the system. It seems like even with the amount of people now taking benefits outnumbering the amount of those paying into the system (hello Baby Boomers) the system should still have enough money to support itself, right? After all those now receiving checks were the ones working and paying into the system during their prime earning years. Shouldn’t there have been reserves? There were, but they were deposited into the US Treasury where they have long since been spent.

Starting this year, the Social Security Administration will be paying out more in benefits than what’s being paid into the system, according to

So, what should you do? The consensus is that you should be concerned. Don’t panic, but certainly be aware. Whether you have made ample alternate plans for your retirement monies or not, chances are someone you care about is counting on receiving their full benefits. After all, these are not entitlements; these are funds that have been taken from earnings to be used once a worker is of retirement age. It is important that you talk to a personal financial planner well before you enter the age to consider retirement. It is hopeful that the social security program will still be around, although it may not be in its current fashion. If you are concerned about a loved one who is already receiving the SS payments or is planning to soon, contact your local Social Security Office and set up an appointment for more information.