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It's Time to Update Social Security for the 21st Century

For nearly 60 years, AARP has been fighting for Social Security — fighting to ensure that hardworking Americans who pay in get the benefits they’ve earned. That’s why AARP launched Take a Stand, a national campaign urging every presidential candidate to lay out a plan to update Social Security for the 21st century.

Strengthening Social Security

Americans have been paying into Social Security and collecting earned benefits when they retire for almost 80 years. But if nothing is done to make the program financially sound for the long term, benefits will be cut by about 25 percent in 2034, according to projections in the latest Social Security trustees’ report.

The longer it takes our leaders to act, the harder the problem becomes to solve and the less time workers have to plan their futures. With commonsense updates, however, we can keep the promise made to future generations.

Our Social Security Principles

Looking to the future of Social Security, we need to keep what works, update and improve where needed, and achieve financial stability and benefit adequacy for 75 years and beyond. Our principles for keeping Social Security strong are:

  • Achieve long-term solvency and adequacy: Social Security should be sufficiently financed to ensure solvency for the long term. Solvency proposals must ensure meaningful benefits for future generations.

  • Reaffirm Social Security’s fundamental character: Social Security should continue to provide a stable foundation for retirement income. It should remain a partnership among individuals, employers and the federal government. It should also maintain its role in providing protection for workers and families affected by death or disability. All covered workers should contribute equitably to the program and receive benefits.

  • Ensure protections for those most in need: Reforms should take into account the needs of those most reliant on Social Security and those who have difficulty postponing retirement.

  • Recognize the value of Social Security’s core elements: Social Security should continue to reward work. The key elements of Social Security’s successful program structure should be preserved: progressive, defined benefits that cannot be outlived; inflation protection; and benefits related to earnings.

  • Make improvements to reflect today’s workforce: An updated Social Security program must address the economic and demographic changes over the last 80 years to be able to respond to the needs of future beneficiaries and their families.

  • Ensure fairness: Changes to the program should be implemented gradually and should protect current beneficiaries and near retirees.

AARP is bringing the conversation about Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington. Because you've earned a say. Read

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