Social Security Is Turning 80 - but Will It Make It to 100?

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By Karla Bowsher

Friday marked the 80th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of the Social Security Act of 1935 during the Great Depression.

The U.S. Social Security Administration's anniversary slogan is "Celebrating the Past and Building the Future." But Gallup Poll results released Thursday show that most Americans doubt the SSA's ability to help secure their future.

This year, 66 percent of Americans polled said Social Security is either in a state of crisis (21 percent) or has major problems (45 percent).

While that is down from a high of 77 percent in 2010, at least two-thirds of Americans have viewed the system as being in crisis or having major problems since 1998. And that's unlikely to change without movement in the nation's capital, according to Gallup:

These negative views likely will continue until elected officials in Washington take action to tackle the system's long-term problems or the projections about the system's financial strength improve as a result of shifts in the economy.

Gallup's poll results are based on phone interviews conducted this month and last month of 2,020 adults from every state and the District of Columbia. Among Americans who have yet to retire, 51 percent doubt the system will be able to pay them benefits when they retire.

That's not much higher than it was when Gallup first measured in 1989, when 47 percent felt that way. It is also down from an all-time high of 60 percent in 2010.

But the younger a worker is, the more likely he or she is to doubt getting benefits. On one end, 64 percent of people age 18 to 29 are doubtful. On the other end, 3 percent of nonretirees age 65 and older are doubtful.

Gallup notes that Americans' doubts about Social Security appear to be grounded in reality.

An annual report released last month by the trustees who oversee the Social Security Disability Insurance program stated that the reserve for its funds is projected to be depleted in 2035.

Do you think Social Security is in crisis or has major problems? Do you think future retirees will have their benefits cut? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It's the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth and, most important, post questions and get answer.

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