Showing posts with label Social Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Security. Show all posts

September 29, 2015

Bad News for Social Security and Medicare Recipients in 2015-16

The latest report from the Social Security Trustees Report assumes that for just the third time since the automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975, people who receive Social Security payments will not receive a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) in 2016.
COLAs only kick in when the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the official gauge of inflation, goes up. The CPI is not expected to increase in the base period used to determine the COLA.
report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says this would have an unintended consequence that would sock some Medicare recipients with a significant Medicare premium hike.
“Cause a flap”
“The anticipated lack of a Social Security COLA will cause a flap in the Medicare program because, by law, the cost of higher Medicare Part B premiums cannot be passed on to most beneficiaries when they do not get a raise in their Social Security benefits,” the authors write.
 This unintended consequence also highlights the complicated interaction between Medicare premiums, which are generally deducted automatically from Social Security benefits, and the net benefit – the money available for non-health care expenditures.
 According to the report, the Social Security COLA does not fully reflect the increase in health care costs faced by the elderly because the net Social Security benefit does not keep pace with inflation. While many seniors rely on the inflation adjustment in Social Security, “the rise in Medicare premiums undermines the ability of beneficiaries to maintain their purchasing power for non-health-care items.”
 Medicare recipients are accustomed to paying more each year in premiums. The report finds that, barring any complicating factors, the premium would increase from $104.90 in 2015 to $120.70 for 2016. 
Hold-harmless provision
But here's the rub; the law contains a hold-harmless provision that limits the dollar increase in the premium to the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security benefit. This provision applies to roughly 70% of Part B enrollees. They have nothing to worry about. 
The remaining 30% aren't covered by the hold-harmless provision. They include new enrollees during the year; enrollees who do not receive a Social Security benefit check; enrollees with high incomes (who are subject to the income-related premium adjustment), and dual Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries - whose full premiums are paid by state Medicaid programs. 
Because 70% of Medicare recipients would see no increase in the absence of a Social Security COLA, the Part B premiums for the remaining 30% must be raised enough to offset the rising costs. 52% premium hike
“Under the intermediate economic assumptions, the estimated monthly premium in 2016 for these other beneficiaries is $159.30,” the authors write. “That means that, unless the Administration figures out some workaround, the base Part B premium would rise from $104.90 to $159.30 – a 52% increase.” For higher income participants, the premiums would rise even higher, based on multiples of $159.30. “Clearly, political pressure will build for some kind of work-around,” the report concludes. 
For those of you being affected or having a love one or close person affected:
Start contacting your Senators and Congressmen now! 

By Mark Huffman
Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004. He covers real estate, gas prices and the economy and has reported extensively on negative-option sales. He was previously an Associated Press reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for Westwoood One Radio Networks and Marketwatch. 

August 21, 2015

Gay Couples NOW Eligible for Social Security Benefits


Same-sex married couples who were living in states that did not recognize their unions and who previously filed claims for Social Security benefits will be able to collect those payments, the government said on Thursday.

The Justice Department told lawyers for two plaintiffs seeking benefits that the Social Security Administration would apply the Supreme Court’s June ruling declaring that marriage is a constitutional right, Obergefell v. Hodges, retroactively. It would apply to individuals with pending claims who were married before the decision and living in states that did not recognize same-sex marriages.
Kathy Murphy in Acadia National Park in Maine on Wednesday, near the spot where she spread the ashes of her late wife, Sara Barker, following her death in 2012. Ms. Murphy has been unable to collect survivor and death benefits from Social Security.Social Security Benefits in Limbo for Some Same-Sex CouplesAUG. 19, 2015
The Rowan County Rights Coalition outside the courthouse in Morehead, Ky., where the county clerk refused for religious reasons to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.Kentucky Clerk Defies Court on Marriage Licenses for Gay CouplesAUG. 13, 2015
Ann Hopkins, right, plaintiff in the 1989 sex discrimination case against Price Waterhouse.U.S. Agency Rules for Gays in Workplace DiscriminationJULY 17, 2015
Details were not yet available, and it is not clear when the Social Security Administration will enact the new policy. But the rules are expected to be applied to previously filed claims that are pending in the administrative process or litigation, according to Lambda Legal, a gay rights advocacy group that represented the plaintiffs. The Social Security Administration was not available for comment.

“With this good news, we are hopeful that widows, widowers and retirees, wherever they lived, who need Social Security spousal benefits earned through years of hard work, will soon be able to receive them,” said Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal.

The Obergefell case came after the landmark Windsor decision in 2013, in which the court declared that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits. But even with that ruling, many couples were still shut out: The Social Security Administration typically looks to the states to determine marital status, so couples living in states that did not recognize same-sex marriage were not deemed eligible to receive spousal-related benefits.

Lambda Legal filed two separate cases last year on behalf of Kathy Murphy, a widow, and Dave Williams, a widower. They were living in states that did not recognize their marriages when their spouses died, before the Obergefell decision. There were 11 states that did not recognize same-sex marriage before the ruling, according to a chart on the Social Security Administration’s website.

Ms. Murphy, 63, stopped working earlier than she anticipated to care for her spouse, Sara Barker, who died of cancer in 2012. Last year, given her early retirement and the inability to receive survivor payments, Ms. Murphy had to begin collecting her own Social Security at age 62. Had she been able to delay taking her check until age 66, she would have been entitled to receive $580 more each month.

Mr. Williams, a 57-year-old retired lawyer, married his partner, Carl Allen, in 2008 — about 10 years after they became a couple. Mr. Allen, who had been living with H.I.V. since the 1980s, died in 2010.

But when Mr. Williams applied to Social Security in 2010 for a small death benefit and roughly $3,900 in disability payments that were due Mr. Allen, the agency denied Mr. Williams’s claim. The Defense of Marriage Act was still in place at that time, which meant the federal government did not recognize same-sex couples.

He appealed, but last September, the Social Security Administration denied his claim again; he and Mr. Allen lived in Arkansas, which did not recognize their union.

The Justice Department, which was representing the Social Security Administration in both cases, announced its decision in a status conference for Mr. Williams’s suit in federal court in Chicago.

“I am thrilled beyond words,” Mr. Williams said. “I keep thinking that Carl would be so pleased. It took over five years, and the efforts have been vindicated.”


April 1, 2015

Expanding Social Security-YES! Expanding and it Works

(The following is an adaptation from the new book, Social Security Works!)
Expanding Social Security by increasing benefits would be a partial solution to four challenges America faces: the income insufficiency of today’s seniors; the retirement income crisis confronting today’s middle-aged and young workers; insufficient recognition of and public support for the caregiving functions of the family and increased inequality, now hollowing out the middle class.
We propose the Social Security Works All Generations Plan — a comprehensive package of benefit and revenue changes that would widen Social Security’s protections in important ways, pay for the improvements and truly strengthen, rather than cut, our Social Security system. The result: stronger, affordable protection for America’s families and a reduction in income inequality.
Today's Modest Benefits 

Social Security currently provides a strong foundation, but its benefits are modest by virtually any measure. Social Security’s retirement benefits average just $15,571 a year. They do not come close to replacing a large enough percentage of wages to allow workers to maintain their standards of living once wages are gone. Moreover, these already minimal replacement rates will be lower in the future, as the result of already enacted cuts, now being phased in.
Increasing Social Security’s benefits for current and future beneficiaries can be done simply and quickly, with no startup costs, no additional regulation and virtually no additional administrative costs. Moreover, it would boost benefits not just of retired workers but also of disabled workers, their families and the families of deceased workers.
The All Generations Plan proposes an across-the-board 10 percent increase in benefits for everyone who receives Social Security benefits now, or will in the future. Just as Social Security has a maximum family benefit, we limit our plan’s maximum benefit increase to $150 a month.
Adjusting the Inflation Index

Our plan also proposes the adoption of a more accurate measure of the cost of living experienced by Social Security beneficiaries — the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly. This change is not really an increase in benefits; it is designed to ensure that benefits do not erode.
The current inflation index undermeasures how inflation eats away at the purchasing power of benefits because it is calculated for workers and the general public. But seniors and people with disabilities spend more on health care — where prices rise faster —and less on clothing, recreation and similar items — where prices tend to rise more slowly — than younger Americans.
Targeted Increases to Alleviate Poverty

The All Generations Plan also calls for targeted benefit increases to alleviate poverty. Low-wage workers, as well as workers who were disadvantaged during their working years  disproportionately, people of color, women, and members of the LGBT community — are likely to have disproportionately high rates of poverty in old age.
Social Security has included a minimum benefit since 1939. Because the minimum originally did not differentiate between high-paid workers who had only a few years of work and low-paid workers with long work histories, Congress in 1972 introduced the so-called special minimum for low-income workers with many years of work. Because the special minimum is only indexed to the rise in prices, not wages, it has not kept pace with the nation’s rising standard of living. Consequently, it covers fewer and fewer workers each year.
It is time to update the special minimum benefit so that when fully implemented, those working for at least 30 years and retiring at their Full Retirement Age will receive a benefit equal to 125 percent of the federal poverty line.
Social Security provides benefits to minor children whose parents have died or become disabled. At one time, those benefits continued until age 22 for those who attended colleges, universities or advanced vocational schools. But at the beginning of the Reagan administration, those benefits were repealed. The All Generations Plan restores student benefits for children of disabled and deceased workers.
Dropping Arbitrary Restrictions

Social Security also recognizes the special hardship faced by people with disabilities who are widowed. While widow(er)s cannot receive survivor benefits until age 60 at the earliest (unless they are caring for dependent children), widow(er)s who are disabled can receive benefits at younger ages, in recognition of their inability to work. But there is an arbitrary age, 50, for the start of these benefits and a requirement not applied to other persons with disabilities about how recent the onset of the disability must be. Moreover, unlike disabled workers, their benefits are reduced substantially, to 71.5 percent of a full benefit, when they are received at age 50. The All Generations Plan proposes to drop these arbitrary restrictions and harsh reductions.

Although it is a clever sound bite to ask why billionaires should get Social Security, there are practical as well as conceptual reasons why everyone should receive the benefits they have earned. Scaling back or eliminating the benefits of millionaires and billionaires would produce relatively minute savings, since there are so few of them and their benefits are low already in relation to their contributions, as a result of Social Security’s progressive benefit formula.
The Right Question to Ask

The last major legislative expansion occurred almost a half century ago, in 1972. It is time to expand it again. Expanding Social Security, where the benefits go largely to low- and middle-class families, and paying for those expansions by requiring the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share, will reduce the nation's growing income inequality. We believe the right question to ask is not can we afford these expansions. Rather, the question we should ask is, how can we afford not to expand Social Security in these ways. The results will be greater economic security for America’s working families and a fairer distribution of the nation’s bounty. 

June 24, 2014

Social Security Says it most follow State law in same sex cases


Further proof of the need for the Supreme Court to rule that state same-sex marriage bans are a violation of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution came via a Friday announcementfrom the Social Security Administration. “Social Security has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship,” the federal retiree agency said. Unfortunately, “the Social Security Act requires the agency to follow state law in Social Security cases.”
When the Supreme Court invalidated the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), federal agencies set about making their policies reflect the new reality. That is, ensuring that legally married same-sex couples were being treated equally under the law. In addition, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memorandum last February announcing that “same-sex marriages, valid in the jurisdiction where the marriage was celebrated” would be viewed as legal under federal law. Except if that law is the Social Security Act.
“As with previous same-sex marriage policies, we worked closely with the Department of Justice,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security. “We are bound by the law within the Social Security Act, and we have to respect state laws.” Last month, I told you about a billsponsored by  Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would “confer spousal benefits to any individual legally married in United States.” It would also “eliminate the requirement that the spouse reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage in order to be eligible for Social Security benefits.”
Given Capitol gridlock, I placed great hope in the agency’s ability to make things right for legally married same-sex couples. That the Justice Department could not find a legal way for the Social Security Administration to use the demise of DOMA to treat all Americans “fairly and equally, with the dignity and respect they deserve,” as Colvin said last year, means the law needs to be changed. That’s not an easy task when the prognosis of passage of the Murray-Udall bill from is “0% chance of being enacted.” That’s why the Supreme Court must act. Until marriage equality is legal nationwide, legally married same-sex couples won’t be able to avail themselves of the benefits they deserve without impediment.

February 28, 2014

Democrats Would Like Credit But It Was GOP Who Stopped Obama from Gutting Social Security


Liberals are taking a big victory lap after the White House announced Thursday that it wouldn’t propose trimming future Social Security benefits as part of the 2015 budget. President Obama had repeatedly endorsed such a measure as part of a “grand bargain” to tame the nation’s growing debt, and he incorporated it into last year’s budget plan.
After word came out, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee blasted a release: "This is a huge progressive victory -- and greatly increases Democratic chances of taking back the House and keeping the Senate.”
Neil Sroka, the communications director for Democracy for America, told Business Insider for an article titled  “How Liberals Won on Social Security”:  “We have changed the conversation in Washington.”
And economist Paul Krugman was up Friday morning calling the decision “a big deal.” 
Sorry, but liberals had nothing to do with the president’s decision. It’s Republicans who killed the Social Security proposal.
In 2011, in 2012 and in 2013, Obama was willing to adopt a chained consumer price index, which would result in lower payouts of Social Security benefits over time. (He would have protected poor seniors.)
Republicans had long demanded it, citing the sustainability of the nation's retirement entitlements. Obama was willing to do it as part of a “grand bargain.” His condition was to scale back tax breaks that benefit the wealthy. He made the case to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)  in 2011 and 2012 and then -- over and over -- to Senate Republicans in 2013.
Democrats hated the idea. Liberals were furious. But the president kept it on the table. What many liberals didn’t understand was that Obama kept it on the table not just as a token to Republicans -- many of his advisers believed that chained CPI, with protections for poor seniors, was a good policy that used a more accurate measure of inflation.
Nonetheless, Republicans didn’t bite. They decided that raising taxes on the wealthy by closing tax expenditures was too much to ask.
The GOP refusal to agree to a deal is the reason why Obama’s Social Security proposal isn’t law. In fact, though he’s not including it in his budget, Obama says the offer is still on the table.

August 8, 2013

Latest on Social Security

Every year this blog reports on changes, raises and news on social security. Being aware that this a program that helps so many people. Not only people that retire but people that become disabled and children of disabled parents so they can go to school and grow without wanting for their necessities. This is a program that is highly resented by those that don’t need it even though they do collect from it never the less.  The law says they can because they contributed to the plan. Social security is the largest chunk that is deducted from your paycheck each time. Your employer pay as well, that way the burden is distributed by both the worker that will get the benefits and the employer that uses the worker to run the business.
 Social Security recipients will get a 1.7 percent raise Jan. 1, Social Security announced Tuesday morning.
That's about four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the best-guess estimates had put it. That's still not a whopper of an increase, but for most people living in retirement, more is better than less. Because these increases are cumulative, it is also good retirement planning news for people a few years away from claiming.
Here's how the increase will affect various aspects of the program.
The maximum amount on which workers are taxed for Social Security will go from $110,100 to $113,700. There is no upper limit on the amount of income taxed for Medicare. Unless Congress renews the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011, which gave the payroll tax a 2 percent haircut, in 2013 taxes for employees will go back to 7.65 percent of income. Self-employed people pay both the worker and the employer share for a whopping total of 15.3 percent.
The amount you must earn to be credited with one quarter of Social Security coverage -- you need 40 quarters or 10 years of work  to qualify for retirement benefits -- will rise to $1,160.
The cost of living adjustment will drive up the average amount that Social Security recipients receive in 2013 to these levels:
  • All retired workers, $1,261.
  • Aged couple, both receiving benefits, $2,048.
  • Widowed mother and two children, $2,592.
  • Aged widow(er) alone, $1,214.
  • Disabled worker, spouse and one or more children, $1,919.
  • All disabled workers, $1,132.
The amount that a worker who has worked for 35 years, earning the maximum amount of Social Security every year, can receive at full retirement age -- 66 in 2013 -- is $2,533.
If you take Social Security before full retirement age -- between the ages of 62 and 65 -- there is a limit on the amount of payroll income you can earn without losing $1 of Social Security for every $2 of income. That cap rises in 2013 to $15,120 a year.
If you work the year you reach full retirement age, you can earn quite a bit more before switching over to Social Security. That maximum is $40,080. After that, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above the limit.
Social Security is a blessing for so many people -- especially at a time when an increasing number of retirees have no pension on which to rely.
Adam Gonzalez

July 13, 2013

New Same Sex Marriage Claims Being Accepted at Social Security

The Social Security Administration announced Friday that it would begin accepting benefit claims related to same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court in June found the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. It ruled that the federal government cannot treat same-sex marriages approved by some states any differently than heterosexual marriages.
The ruling affects more than 1,000 federal regulations affecting everything from tax breaks to entitlement benefits.
Prior to the ruling, an individual in a same-sex marriage was unable to claim survivor benefits from Social Security when a spouse died and a couple was unable to claim a 50-percent Social Security marriage bonus to their retirement benefits. .
“The President has directed the Attorney General to work with other members of his Cabinet to review the recent Supreme Court decision and determine its impact on Federal benefit programs – including benefits administered by Social Security – to ensure that we implement the decision swiftly and smoothly,” Social Security Administration spokesman Mark Hinkle said.
He said the agency was working with the Justice Department to revise its regulations.
“We are taking claims now from individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits. We will process these claims as soon as we have finalized our instructions,” Hinkle said.
The DOMA ruling could end up reducing the federal budget deficit even though there will likely be an increase in Social Security spending. Most high-income married couples face a tax penalty when filing tax returns jointly.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last looked at the issue in 2004 and has not done so since. CBO said at the time that allowing gay marriage could reduce the deficit by up to $10 billion over the following ten years.
CBO’s report predicted that most same-sex marriage would feature couples where both individuals qualify for Social Security benefits independently. Such couples would not receive the 50-percent spousal bonus and therefore would not trigger increased spending in that category.
The Hill ^  by jazusamo

April 5, 2013

Obama Gives in: Budget Balanced by Also Using Social Security Medicare

On this proposal from Obama the government makes changes on the way inflation is measured. Why do Boehner Wants it? Because it reduces the amount recipients get every year as the inflation index rises.The Republicans have been asking to a change from the index to what they call chain CPI.  Why? They want to take 3% away from seniors, vets and disabled. This in not making any small or big dents on the budget when you compare it other items.  But nobody is talking about the amount of money these groups  (disabled,seniors) spend on Health care, spent-downs and co-pays. 
According to CNN these programs include:
  "Social Security benefits, civilian worker and military pensions, veterans' benefits, and Pell Grants".
Health expenses are going up every year and nobody calculates on how they pay for more with less money. 3% percent on this budget is not a lot but take 3% out of somebody living on SS with payments of $1100-1500 a month ( these groups do not qualify for medicaid because they 'make too much’) This is a group that has worked all their life’s and paid their share and vets that went to serve and came back missing parts be on the inside or the outside. This is been the Republican way of trying to balance the budget from the bottom up. Instead of looking from the top down to see where the money is going they go back on programs that have been paying for themselves. These are no programs of charity.  These are programs for the people that have been paying for them on the premise that the government will make good on it’s promises. 

 The budget will include an offer Obama made to House Speaker John Boehner in December, officials said. That proposal included $400 billion in savings to Medicare over 10 years.
Proponents say chained CPI is a more accurate way to measure inflation than the way it's done now, which they say overstates growth in consumer prices.
Some critics have said chained CPI is not a better way to measure inflation for Social Security recipients, because they spend so much on health care, which rises faster than inflation.
CNN says that this plan might work together with other cuts. It might work? To What? A balanced budget. Well we’ve had balanced budgets before and the last one was during the Clinton administration. No cuts were made to social security and medicare with the exception of raising the age to get the benefits. We get a balance budget on the backs of the people that can least afforded and then what? We get in trouble with North Korea, Iran or Syria and where does the balanced budget go?
On whose back would it be balanced again? Give you one guess.

CNN as source article by Adam Gonzalez

December 30, 2012

Major Set Back Today GOP Demanded Severe Cuts to Social Security

 NATASHA LENNARD from Salon  reports about the reason on the major set back today on the negotiations on the Financial Deadline in congress late today.                         adamfoxie*
 In what Democratic aides told reporters was a “major setback” in fiscal cliff negotiations, Republicans proposed throwing a Social Security cut into the scaled-back deal Congress is attempting to cobble together in advance of the New Year deadline. As things stand at the time of writing, negotiations are close to breakdown.

Aides to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell presented the Social Security proposal, which included a method of calculating benefits with inflation. The plan would lower cost of living increases for Social Security recipients. Democrats were swift to reject the offer.
A Democratic aide told ABC News that the proposal was a “poisoned pill” in the current negotiations. However, it should be noted that President Obama has suggested a similar proposal within the context of negotiations on a broad deficit-reduction deal. Such a measure had been taken off the table in discussions over a scaled-back, short-term agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Sunday, “We’re willing to make difficult concessions as part of a balanced, comprehensive agreement but we’ll not agree to cut social security benefits as part of a small or short-term agreement, especially if that agreement gives more handouts to the rich.”
As such, the Republican move has brought negotiations close to breaking point. According to the Hill, a Democratic aide noted of the Senate Majority Leader’s reaction to the Social Security proposal, “Sen. Reid was personally taken aback and hugely disappointed to hear the new element of the Republicans latest offer,” said the aide. “We’re further apart than we were 24 hours ago.”
Reid said Sunday he remains “cautiously optimistic” that a deal can be made as the cliff’s edge approaches.
The president has said that Democrats will simply call an up-or-down vote on his initial proposal, which prevents tax hikes on all but those incomes above $250,000, and force the issue if talks break down and the deadline gets too close.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

November 20, 2012

The Giant Lie About Social Security


Fiscal conservatives are trotting out the life expectancy argument to justify the gutting of social security. It's based on a pack of lies.

Trying to convince the public to cut America’s best-loved and most successful program requires a lot of creativity and persistence. Social Security is fiscally fit, prudently managed and does not add to the deficit because by law it must be completely detached from the federal operating budget. Obviously, it is needed more than ever in a time of increasing job insecurity and disappearing pensions. It helps our economy thrive and boosts the productivity of working Americans. And yet the sharks are in a frenzy to shred it in the upcoming “fiscal cliff” discussions.
The most popular red herring Social Security hustlers have unleashed into the waters of public discourse has grown into such a massive whale of a lie that liberals frequently subscribe to it. The idea goes like this: We need to somehow “fix” Social Security because people are living longer – “fix” in this context being a code for “cut.” Two groups stand to benefit in the short-term from such a scheme: the greedy rich, who do not want to pay their share in taxes, and financiers, who want to move towards privatizing retirement accounts so they can collect fees. As for the masses of hard-working people who have rightfully earned their retirement, the only “fix” is the fix they will be in if already modest benefits are further reduced.
Here are five clear reasons why the life expectancy argument is nonsensical, counterproductive and based on a pack of lies.
1. Social Security’s original designers considered rising life expectancy.
On our red-herring tour, let’s start with the oft-repeated claim that the original designers of the program did not consider rising life expectancy in their calculations. Fortunately, public records pertaining to the lengthy and detailed discussions of the Roosevelt administration’s Committee on Economic Security (CES), tasked with constructing proposals for Social Security, are available for anyone to see. It is absolutely clear from the record that the designers knew that the number of people over the age of 65 was going to increase and that people were going to live longer.
There were differences – as there are now – on exactly how to project this demographic shift, but the idea that a growing rate of older folks taking payouts was bound to happen was a topic of intense scrutiny. Consider the Old Age Security Staff Report, dated January 1935 :
“At the time of the last Census (1930) there were six and a half million people 65 years of age and over in the United States. They constituted 5.4% of the population. As a result of a declining birth rate in this country, which manifested itself about 1820 and persisted from that time, the ratio of aged persons has shown a continuous growth from the date. The increase was very slow for 40 years, more rapid from 1860 on, and noticeably accelerated between 1920 and 1930. The latter was due to a rather sharp decline in birth rate which set in about 1920. This decline is expected to persist, moreover, and will of course produce a correspondingly sharp increase in the ratio of the aged to the population as a whole. The recent improvement in mortality rate makes its contribution to this situation.”
That’s right: Not only did the designers know full well that a larger population of older folks was coming, they actually made projections based on that assumption well into the future. They even produced this handy table which projects that increase all the way up to 1980, anticipating a 140 percent increasein the 60 years following 1920

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