Yesterday, the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report. And just as it did in 2017, the Trustees’ report concluded that Social Security can pay 100 percent of promised benefits until 2034, and 77 percent of benefits after that if no changes are made to the program.
In this instance, the fact that the Trustees reached the same conclusion that they did last year is good news. We know exactly when we need to address Social Security’s manageable long-term financial shortfall – as we have for years. We know that the fixes we need to put in place so that this critical program can pay benefits in full far into the future – such as eliminating the taxable earnings cap – are modest, and affordable.
As we’ve said before, Social Security is a program that is critically important for women. Social Security is virtually the only source of income for more than one in four women beneficiaries over 65. And despite modest benefits (women, on average, received less than $1,200 per month from Social Security), Social Security kept nearly nine million older women from falling into poverty in 2016. When you look at the difference that Social Security makes in women’s lives, the fact that polling shows that Americans value Social Security and are willing to pay for it really comes as no surprise.
Given how important Social Security is to women, it’s our job to tell you when the program faces threats. For example, we told you that the giant Trump tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations would give conservatives an excuse to propose deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And we told you about the hare-brained scheme to give people the option to delay Social Security in exchange for paid family leave. But the Trustees’ Report this year simply tells us what we have known for some time: we can and should strengthen Social Security so that it can help women enjoy a more secure retirement for years to come. Women are depending on it.