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Published: Nov 01, 2023 4 min read
Photo-illustration of a cut-up social security card taped back together.
Olive Burd / Money; Getty Images

The Social Security trust funds are expected to be depleted in about a decade if Congress doesn't act, leading an association of actuaries to argue that now is the time to think seriously about solutions.

Taxpayer funds cover the bulk of Social Security payments, but if the program’s reserves run dry, beneficiaries would face immediate 20% cuts to their checks come 2034. Any decrease to Social Security payments would likely be extremely unpopular, considering they're a major source of retirement income for tens of millions of people.

Politicians often make campaign promises that Social Security will remain in full force, but everybody seems to have a different idea about how to actually achieve that. According to a new report from the ​​American Academy of Actuaries, the longer the issue is put off, the harder it will be to address the looming shortfall.

Linda Stone, senior pension fellow for the academy, said in a Monday news release that there’s “a clear, compelling benefit and public good to Congress engaging the reform process sooner rather than later.” If legislators act quickly, they could consider “reform options that are more moderate, gradual, and give the American people time to adjust to any needed changes in benefits or taxes,” Stone added.