For more than 50 years, AARP has been fighting to protect and improve Social Security. We're working to ensure that Social Security can fulfill its promises to all those counting on it today and in the future.
Strengthening Social Security
Americans have been paying into Social Security for more almost 80 years and collecting earned benefits when they retire. Without any changes, Social Security will be able to pay 100 percent of benefits for the next 19 years. After that, the program will still be able to pay 77 percent of promised benefits. However, with gradual and modest adjustments, we can ensure that future generations will receive the benefits they've earned.
Our Social Security values
AARP has a long history of supporting proposals to strengthen Social Security and opposing those that undermine the retirement security of seniors and future generations. Throughout the debate in Washington over how to strengthen Social Security, AARP will fight to ensure that any final plan is based on these critical values:
- Social Security should continue to guarantee that Americans who work and pay into the system receive benefits based on what they earn and contribute.
- Social Security benefits should keep up with inflation and last for as long as an individual lives.
- Social Security must be put on stable financial ground, but any adjustments to the program should be implemented gradually so people can plan for their futures and any changes do not impact those in or near retirement.
- We must protect benefits for people who count on them most, including surviving spouses and families, low-wage workers, and individuals who become disabled and can no longer work.
- Social Security should be kept separate from the rest of the federal budget.
Photo by Elena Dorfman /Index Stock Imagery, Inc.
Why Social Security matters
Social Security's guaranteed benefits are a rock-solid commitment to American families. Companies can go out of business. Pension plans can be terminated. The stock market can take a nose dive. But Social Security benefits are there in good times and bad.
Americans earn Social Security's guaranteed retirement benefits by making contributions out of every paycheck throughout their working lives. To demonstrate the significant value of Social Security retirement benefits, consider this: You would need to have saved $386,000 as of January 2012 to buy an annuity (a kind of investment product that guarantees to pay you a steady stream of income) that would pay out an amount equal to the average monthly retirement Social Security check of $1,228.
Social Security benefits are fundamental to the economic security of most older Americans. Today, half of all Americans age 65 and over rely on Social Security for more than 50 percent of their family income. Nearly one in four relies on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their family income.
For most retirees, their Social Security benefits and total income are relatively modest. The average annual Social Security retirement benefit is roughly $15,600 a year, and about half of seniors have an income of a little over $20,000 a year.
But Social Security is much more than a retirement program. Among the nearly 58 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits in 2013 were disabled workers and their families, and the spouses and dependents of deceased workers.
Personal investments, pension and 401(k) accounts, and individual retirement accounts are all important parts of retirement savings, but Social Security is the guaranteed base of retirement security for most Americans. We need to make the modest adjustments necessary to strengthen it for both current and future generations.
Join the fight. Tell Washington to keep strong Social Security strong for today’s seniors and strengthen it for future generations, visit aarp.org/myfuture.