Social Security benefits are paid through a self-financing system.
Social Security program administration has multiple functions. It processes applications and payments and operates field offices around the country.
Congress should allocate sufficient funding to strengthen the administrative capacity of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to better meet the needs of applicants and beneficiaries.
Some proposals to address Social Security solvency would adjust the calculation of initial benefits. Others adjust benefit growth over time.
Social Security benefits are calculated as a percentage of lifetime average earnings. Policymakers consider two factors when establishing the calculation of lifetime average earnings.
The number of years used to calculate benefits should not be increased beyond the 35 years designated in current law.
Policymakers should retain wage indexing of both the Average Indexed Monthly Earnings and the thresholds used in the formula for the Primary Insurance Amount.
Older women experience higher poverty rates than older men. They also, as a rule, receive lower Social Security benefits.
From time to time, Social Security’s long-term solvency challenges have been used to justify basic structural changes.