Question of the Day: Based on current projections, what is the year that Social Security will need to curtail benefits to retirees?

Sep 13, 2021

Answer: 2034


  1. What is the purpose of the Social Security system? Do you know anyone currently receiving Social Security benefits?
  2. What impact do you think a 20% cut in benefits would have on seniors collecting Social Security?
  3. Does this news impact how you might think about your own retirement?
  4. Interested in trying to solve the Social Security funding problem? Be sure to check out the Social Security Reformer game.

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (CNBC):

In other words, Social Security’s costs in the form of monthly payments to retirees now exceed the income it takes in from U.S. workers. Projected to soon consistently operate in the red, the program’s reserve fund would be depleted around 2033.

If Congress does not act by that time, Social Security law would cut benefit checks for retirees by about 20% across the board. For a demographic that has planned on those payments, and usually has few other avenues of income, a 20% reduction could prove disastrous and threaten to throw many Americans into poverty.

Social Security has long known it faces a simple math problem: With thousands of baby boomers retiring every day, there is an insufficient number of younger people entering the workforce to offset the cost.


With Social Security being depleted and the corporate pension fast becoming a thing of the's more imperative than ever for students to be aware of other retirement programs. Be sure to check out NGPF's Semester Course Lesson 7.7 Types of Retirement Accounts and popular activity: Sign up for a 401(k)

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.