En español | Will Social Security be there for you? The answer is yes, but the future strength of the program depends on the outcome of a debate now raging in Washington. That debate often links Social Security to the ballooning federal deficit, although the program plays no direct role in the nation's debt and currently enjoys an enormous surplus.
See also: Social Security: Fears vs. Facts.
That scenario has younger Americans wondering whether Social Security will be able to meet their needs. A 2010 AARP survey found that just 25 percent of Americans ages 30 to 49 are confident about Social Security's future — compared with 58 percent of people 65 and over.
Here's the good news: There's time to implement small changes that can put Social Security in balance for the long term. Think of Social Security as a gigantic battleship that turns slowly: The sooner we start making adjustments, the smaller the required changes.
Read on to understand the debate, the issues, and the options.