Social Security: Why Sunsetting the Program Seems Unlikely, Even in the Event of a Political Power Shift

Orrin Hatch Funeral, Salt Lake City, United States - 06 May 2022
Kristin Murphy / AP / Shutterstock.com

Upcoming mid-term elections in November 2022 could bring a power shift to Congress, which could mean policy changes and legislation that lean toward one side. Such a shift could have you feeling uneasy about the status of Social Security.

Social Security Schedule: When Benefits Will Arrive in May 2022
Discover: 10 Reasons You Should Claim Social Security Early

Currently, the White House, House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are all controlled by Democrats, with the Senate evenly split. This has led to a wave of bipartisan bills being enacted, as any law requires at least some Republican support to pass in the Senate.  

Should the Republicans take the majority in the House and/or the Senate, however, the balance of power could shift. Many Americans might be worried about the status of certain programs — specifically, Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that the Social Security program requires reform before it runs out of funding. The most recent calculations, reported in 2021 by the Social Security Board of Trustees, found that the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, which funds Social Security benefits for retirees ages 62 and up, could run out by the end of 2033.

Retire Comfortably

POLL: Do You Think the Government Should Increase SNAP Benefits?

While Republicans and Democrats have traditionally held different beliefs when it comes to Social Security reform, “Democrats generally emphasize raising revenues, whereas Republicans typically focus on cutting benefits,” said a report from the Urban Institute.

Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently presented a plan that called for “all federal legislation to sunset after five years.” If his plan passed, any legislation that had been in effect for five years would need to go up for a Congressional vote and be approved again. This would include programs like Social Security and Medicare. And without bipartisan support, the programs might not pass any vote.

In essence, Social Security benefits could be at stake every five years, creating “substantial uncertainty for seniors and […] problems for future retirees,” Christy Bieber of Motley Fool wrote.

However, if the Senate takes the majority in the upcoming election, with Mitch McConnell becoming majority leader, there is likely no cause for alarm.

2022 Stimulus Checks: Is Your State Giving Out Money This Year?
Explore: 15 Worst States To Live on Just a Social Security Check

In response to Scott’s plan, McConnell told news sources, “We will not have as a part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”

Retire Comfortably

More From GOBankingRates

About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

Best Bank Accounts of May 2022

Untitled design (1)
Close popup The GBR Closer icon

Sending you timely financial stories that you can bank on.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest financial news and trending topics.

Loading...
Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

For our full Privacy Policy, click here.