Options for Social Security Reform

GAO-05-649R Published: May 06, 2005. Publicly Released: May 06, 2005.
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Highlights

This report provides a list of the various options available to reform the Social Security program. It includes a table that lists a wide range of provisions that various proposals have used in some form. In addition, there is a list of such proposals, all of which have been scored by the Social Security Administration's Office of the Chief Actuary (SSA/OCACT). Our list of provisions is intended to be generic and conceptual in nature. The list attempts to reflect, in general terms, all provisions that have appeared in SSA-scored proposals in the past few years. For each generic provision, a variety of approaches and parameters could be applied and have been proposed. For example, provisions to raise the retirement age take a variety of forms, including simply speeding up the currently scheduled increase from age 65 to 67, increasing the full retirement age to 68 or 70, indexing the retirement age to improvements in longevity, and even combinations of these. All of these variations have been consolidated into one general provision for increasing the retirement age. The table also briefly discusses each reform option in general terms according to GAO's framework for evaluating Social Security reform proposals, which is described below. Our observations draw on GAO's extensive body of work evaluating various aspects of Social Security reform.

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