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Reforming Social Security to Save Social Security
The biggest social safety net in the United States is the Social Security program, which provides retirement benefits totaling almost $900 billion to 54 million individuals. It is a concern for all but the wealthiest, then, that Social Security faces insolvency: The U.S. Social Security Administration predicts that in 2020, the costs of the program will exceed its income. This suggests it is critical for policymakers to evaluate whether there is a path for social security reform that will improve people?s welfare both before and after retirement while restoring the program?s solvency.
Financial Life After the Death of a Spouse
The death of a spouse results in a considerable decline in average income for the surviving spouse. The Social Security survivors benefits program compensates the surviving spouse, most often a woman, for almost all of the lost income, allowing them to work less, but many widows who are not yet eligible for the program struggle to meet their financial needs.