March AARP Bulletin: Are your Social Security Benefits at Risk? The Truth about the Agency’s Health and What Can Be Done to Strengthen It

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March AARP Bulletin: Are your Social Security Benefits at Risk? The Truth about the Agency’s Health and What Can Be Done to Strengthen It

WASHINGTONToday, the savings accounts from which Social Security draws funds to pay the 60-plus million people receiving benefits are worth almost $3 trillion. In 12 years, that number is projected to be zero, due in large part to a surge in the number of retirees not matched by the growth of jobs in America. If those Trust Funds get depleted as projected, Americans could face the first slash in promised benefits in the program’s history.

What exactly is going on? And more importantly, what can be done to shore up a program that is both beloved and essential to so many Americans?

The AARP Bulletin sent out a team of esteemed journalists to look at the health and future of Social Security from several angles and to detail what choices need to be made by Congress to guarantee full benefits to all who have earned them, in perpetuity. It’s work that must be done: Without Social Security, 21.7 million more Americans would be below the poverty line. Some 40 percent of retired Americans rely entirely on the monthly income it provides. And the program is nearly universally supported across the political spectrum.

But the steps needed to stabilize the program’s finances – some level of benefit cuts, revenue increases or both – are politically challenging. The Bulletin provides a comprehensive look at what those choices are and details the next steps likely to occur to take on the challenge.

Also learn in the cover story:

  • 6 crucial facts to know about Social Security that may help you get more value from it;
  • Why customer service is deteriorating at the agency, and what plans it has to improve;
  • 5 tips for calling SSA customer support and getting the help you need.  

Plus: When To Start Taking Social Security Benefits? Many financial professionals believe that you should wait until 70 to start receiving Social Security benefits. But there are compelling arguments for taking your retirement checks earlier. We asked two financial advisers to list the pros and cons of taking Social Security at 70 versus when you’ve reached full retirement age.

Also in the March issue:

Your Health

  • Gaining Weight as You Age Is Avoidable and Even Reversible: Extra protein, when eaten at the right time, could be an effective way to shed those extra pounds while preserving muscle. This month learn about AARP’s new book, ‘The Whole Body Reset,’ which discusses how protein timing can lead to better health and more energy.
  • Why Age and Alcohol Don’t Mix: Have you started drinking more during the pandemic? If so, you are not alone. During the pandemic, 14% of older adults reported increasing alcohol consumption, according to a national survey by University of Michigan researchers. Read this month’s issue to learn the effects of alcohol on your body as you age and when to limit your consumption.

Fraud Watch

  • Don’t Let FOMO Trip You Up: Do you have FOMO (fear of missing out)? The phenomenon is more than just a catch phrase – it can influence people to make hasty decisions that can make them more susceptible to scammers. Read this month’s “Fraud Watch” to learn tips for stopping scammers in their tracks.

Your Money

  • An Honest Guide to Digital Financial Tools: Whether it’s sending money to family, tipping, budgeting, or paying your bills: There’s an app for that. Every financial task you can imagine has been digitized. But is digital always better? In this month’s “Your Money,” we hear from financial professionals about the risks and benefits of the digital options for five common money activities.  
  • Good As New? When to Buy Refurbished: Inflation? Shortages? No problem! You may get what you want at prices you’ll love if you shop for refurbished items. Buying used or pre-owned can save you up to as much as 70% of the item’s market price. This month’s issue help you determine if buying used is something that you should start doing.

Your Life

  • Q&A with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts: In this month’s Q&A, the familiar anchor and author of new book ‘Brighter by the Day’ details how she finds joy while facing a life-threatening disease. Robin discusses her childhood, her experience going public with her illness, and much more.


About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit, or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.