(Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a new book, “Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All,” published by The New Press, 2015, all rights reserved. Order a copy here .)By Nancy J. Altman, Eric R. Kingson
It’s not widely recognized, but Social Security is gradually weakening. Still the most important source of retirement income for the vast majority, Social Security benefits have been chipped away, and will be roughly 24 percent lower for workers born after 1959.
In 1983 Congress passed legislation that included significant reductions in benefits. Very importantly, the 1983 legislation raised Social Security’s full retirement age from age 65 to 67, a change that is still being phased in. The 1983 amendments set the Social Security “full retirement age” at 66, gradually phased in for those born in 1943 through 1954. It will then gradually increase to age 67, fully phased in for those born after 1959.