The annual reports from the Social Security and Medicare Trustees released today “have good news for all Americans,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Social Security and Medicare will be there for us and our families if elected leaders listen to the American people and reject calls to cut benefits. Instead of undermining these crucial programs, we must build on their success and adopt measures to strengthen and expand them.
Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said the most important lesson from the Social Security report “is that Social Security has a large and growing surplus. Today's report projects Social Security’s cumulative surplus to be roughly $2.8 trillion in 2014, growing to about $2.9 trillion around 2020.”
Trumka noted that while “America’s most important retirement program” will remain strong for many more years to come:
It has become increasingly clear, however, that strengthening Social Security for the future must include improvements in benefits. Social Security remains the sole retirement income plan that is broadly available and that Americans can count on to provide secure lifetime benefits.
The Medicare report, Fiesta said, “reminds us once again that the Affordable Care Act is controlling health care costs.” He said:
It is great news that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by another four years to 2030. Attempts to repeal health care reform would only undo the progress we have made in controlling health care costs.
The Social Security Trustees reported once again that the Disability Trust Fund can pay full benefits until 2016, with enough revenue after that time to cover about 80% of promised benefits. Trumka said:
Congress should act soon to ensure disabled workers and their families will continue to receive the benefits they have earned. This can be done by allocating a larger share of current payroll tax contributions to the Disability program, as has been done many times before. Congress should reject calls to misuse this opportunity to undermine the sole source of disability income protection that is working well for America’s families.
Current and future retirees must be wary of those politicians who will use today’s Social Security and Medicare Trustees reports as political cover for radical changes that would put seniors, the disabled and the families of deceased workers at risk.