Baby boomers could be affected by the outcome of budget talks underway again in Washington, because in the interest of saving Social Security, those talks could change some of the rules; current projections have Social Security going dry in 20 years. A recent poll of Americans 50 and older (which of course is us) found passionate opposition to any change in how Social Security benefits are calculated … if it results in smaller annual raises.
Raise the age at which you can begin collecting full Social Security benefits? Older Americans say no. They also veto reductions in the cost-of-living increase.
But a poll finds support among those 50 and older for raising the cap on earnings that are taxed to fund the Social Security program so higher-income workers pay more.
“I really think it’s a sacred cow,” said Margie Nugent, a 55-year-old farmer from North Umberland, Pa. “They shouldn’t touch it.”
58 percent oppose gradually raising the age when retirees qualify for full benefits, while 29 percent support it. About one-third believe people should be eligible for full benefits before 65. Only 10 percent say full eligibility should come after 67, the top eligibility age under current law.
“I contributed to it. It’s my money,” said Joan McDonald, 65, of Annapolis, Md., who retired as an accountant this year and began collecting Social Security. “The plan was, ‘Contribute this and you get this.’ You can’t change the rules.”
Forty-one percent expressed support for reducing benefits for seniors with higher incomes, compared with 44 percent who opposed the proposal.
President Barack Obama has proposed adopting the chained CPI, making it one of the few issues on which he and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, agree. Other groups, including Obama’s 2010 deficit commission, have proposed raising the age when retirees can get full SocialSecurity benefits.
Among older Americans, the poll suggested the most popular idea for improving the program’s finances was raising the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes. Currently, the cap is $113,700, meaning those earning more do not pay Social Security taxes on wages above that threshold.