Social Security: Long-Term Challenges Warrant Early Action

GAO-05-303T Published: Feb 03, 2005. Publicly Released: Feb 03, 2005.
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Social Security is the foundation of the nation's retirement income system, helping to protect the vast majority of American workers and their families from poverty in old age. However, it is much more than a retirement program and also provides millions of Americans with disability insurance and survivors' benefits. Over the long term, as the baby boom generation retires and as Americans continue to live longer and have fewer children, Social Security's financing shortfall presents a major program solvency and sustainability challenge that is growing as time passes. The Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging asked GAO to discuss the future of the Social Security program. This testimony will address the nature of Social Security's long-term financing problem and why it is preferable for Congress to take action sooner rather than later, as well as the broader context in which reform proposals should be considered.

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