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, also providing 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 widening as time passes. The House Committee on Ways and Means asked GAO to discuss the need for Social Security reform. This testimony addresses the nature of Social Security's long-term financing problem and why it would be prudent for Congress to take action sooner rather than later. This testimony also notes the broader context in which reform proposals should be considered and the criteria that GAO has recommended as a basis for analyzing any Social Security reform proposals.
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