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Crisis: The Role Of Social Security In America

Since Franklin D Roosevelt created the Social Security act in 1935 after the great depression many Americans have depended on it as their only source of income after they retire. People were not overwhelmed with worry about saving for retirement because the act had been considered a great success for many years. A survey of 1,200 people done through AARP “confirms that Social Security is at the very core of most Americans’ retirement” (Pianin, 2015). However in recent years worry about retirement and social security has been on the rise for many aging Americans.

According to a Gallup Survey recently published “66 percent of Americans believe Social Security is in a “state of crisis,” while slightly more than half of those still working doubt they will ever receive Social Security benefits” (Pianin, 2015). A poll was recently taken between Germany, Italy, and the United States on their outlook on the benefits of Social Security, and if they believe they will receive benefits by the time they retire. Also if they are doing any additional saving outside of their Social Security contributions.

Germany and the United States have a more positive outlook on social security than Italy does. Out of those polled 20% of Americans think they will receive social security as it is now, and 11% of Germans feel the same way. However Italians have a grimmer outlook and only 7% think they will receive social security as it is now. All three countries had higher percent’s when it came to thinking they would receive a reduced amount of social security with 31% of Americans, 45% of Germans, and 29% of Italians.

While the United States was more optimistic than Italy about receiving social security, more Americans (41%) than Germans (29%) thought they would receive no benefits, and Italy (53%) had the highest amount of people say they do not think they will receive any benefits. (“Family Support in Graying Societies,” 2015) In all three countries those aged eighteen to twenty-nine are not actively saving for retirement other than any programs set up through their work such as 401ks and social security contributions.

However in Germany and the United States those aged 30 and above are saving outside of their 401ks and actively thinking about retirement. All age brackets in Italy do not actively think about saving for retirement even those whose age is closest to retirement. “Men and women are equally likely to say they are saving for retirement, whether in the U. S. , Germany or Italy” (“Family Support in Graying Societies,” 2015). All three countries are also above 50% in thinking they need to provide financial assistance if a relative needs it.

Young adults in Italy (87%) feel more responsible for helping their parents if needed, while Germany has the lowest at 58% of young adults feeling responsible for their parents. The United States is in the middle with 76% of young adults feeling the responsibility. Italy also has the highest number of parents who feel responsible to help children financially if needed (73%), Germany is in the middle with 63%, and then the United States with 50% of parents feeling financially responsible if there child is struggling. One similarity between all three countries is that they are not saving money to pass down to their families after their passing.

“Family Support in Graying Societies,” 2015). While the young adults in the United States still feel like helping their parent financially is more helpful and there responsibility than helping them with errands, housework, or other personal care, more American parents feel like helping there young adult child with housework, and errands is more helpful than giving them financial help. 58% of parents in the United States feel as though helping with errands and housework is there responsibly and only 39% of young adults feel as though helping their parents with housework and errands is there responsibility.

Furthermore only 14% of parents feel like helping their child with personal care and childcare is there responsibility, 33% of young adults feel as though helping their parents in that way is there responsibility (“Family Support in Graying Societies,” 2015). Just like the United States 48% of young adults feel as though helping their parents financially is more there responsibility than helping them run errands, do housework or assist in any personal care. Only 55% of those polled feel as though helping with errands and housework is there responsibility, and only 33% feel helping with personal care is there responsibility.

But for the parents they feel more strongly that helping their young adult with errands, and housework is there responsibility more so than helping financially, only 18% said financially compared to the 68% that said housework. Only 13% of parents polled feel as though helping their young adult with personal and child care is there responsibility (“Family Support in Graying Societies,” 2015). Italy is also similar in what parents and young adults feel they are responsible for. Most young adults also think that taking financial responsibility for their parents is the best with 60%.

However more Italians feel like helping with household work and errands is there responsibility at 58% which is higher than both Germany and the United States. They also feel like helping with personal care is also there responsibility at 35%. Parents in Italy also think similarly to Germany and the United States about financially responsibility of their young adult. Only 20% said they feel that way, but 70% feel as though helping with errands and housework is more of a responsibility they have.

They also feel more strongly about helping with personal care, and child care at 26% (“Family Support in Graying Societies,” 2015). One of the most common reasons for Americans to not be saving for retirement besides there Social Security contributions is that they have too many financial burdens to have anything extra to put aside. In addition to that “47 percent said they don’t have enough money left over after paying their bills. Thirty-nine percent said they faced a major health need or problem in their family that kept them from saving” (Pianin, 2015).

The average number of money coming out of Social Security is, “24 percent of the total federal budget, or $851 billion, went for Social Security. The major entitlement program provided monthly retirement benefits averaging $1,329 to 39 million retired workers in December 2014” (Pianin, 2015). While Social Security is being paid out to individuals retired it is also being paid out to their spouses, “Social Security also provided benefits to 2. 3 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6. 1 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 10. million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2014, according to the analysis” (Pianin, 2015).

Despite America having one of the youngest populations in the world one of the main topics of concern when it comes to the aging population in America is healthcare. One distinct issue noted is that there will need to be a change in how acute illnesses and chronic illnesses are provided for. With a growing population of elderly there will also be an increase in chronic illnesses, “such as Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, and osteoporosis, rather than acute illnesses” (Weiner, n. d. ).

With an acute illness there are less patients having to return for follow up appointments, which makes the hospitals able to see thousands of people a day for a short period of time. Essentially bringing in an abundance of money without having to spend too much time or resources on the patient. With a chronic illness more time would need to be allotted to each patient and take into account the follow up appointments needed to help cope with their illness.

There will also be an increase in nursing homes, as well as home nurse aids which is not typically covered through Medicare or any other health insurance. new ways will need to be found to integrate medical and long-term care services, a feat that will be difficult in the US because of the fragmentation of the financing and delivery systems” (Weiner, n. d. ). The increase in hospital stays, as well as nursing homes means there will be a higher demand for good health insurance. “While Medicare, the health care program for seniors, has enough money in its Hospital Insurance Trust Fund to continue paying benefits at current levels until 2030, Social Security faces a more immediate danger” (Pianin, 2015).

The Medicare program is made up of two programs one being retirement and the other for disability insurance “Taken together, the two funds contain enough money or government IOUs to assure benefit payments until 2034, but they are wildly out of balance. ” (Pianin, 2015). The disability insurance funds have enough until 2016 before they run out, and then after it has run out if congress approves a transfer of funds, if there is no transfer then benefits are projected to be cut by 81%.

Social Security benefits have become an important topic within the last few years, with an increase in the American population and fewer people working to helping contribute to Social Security benefits. For the aging Americans there may still be enough money for them to receive all of what is owed to them through the act, but for those young adults now there may not be sufficient funds by the time they retire to cover the cost of living. While America is attempting to work towards a brighter future when it comes to the Social Security act, there is still more that can be done to put confidence back into the program.

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