Their Claims That Social Security Is Fully-Funded Through 2036 May Prove Meaningless If Checks Aren't Sent Out Next Week
WASHINGTON, July 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many of the nation's largest senior citizens groups – including AARP, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign – are continuing to tell the nation's elderly that the Social Security Trust Fund is "fully-funded" through 2036.
On paper, they're right. Government spreadsheets do show that the Social Security Trust Fund is fully-funded. But those spreadsheets offer the false promise that seniors will reliably get their checks delivered each month. The truth is more complicated: If Congress fails to reach a deal on the debt limit by next Tuesday, seniors may not get their Social Security checks next week.
That's because there is no such thing as the Social Security "Trust Fund," which is actually just a stack of paper IOU's housed in a nondescript West Virginia government building. The Trust Fund does not include any actual cash.
The Social Security program is not bringing in enough money to pay benefits to all 54 million Social Security recipients. The program relies on funds from the general treasury to make up the difference, but will not receive that amount without the debt limit being increased – or emergency legislation.
"It doesn't matter if the Social Security Trust Fund has money on paper – it matters if seniors get real Social Security checks they can cash," said Shannon Benton, executive director of The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors advocacy groups.
Even without the debt limit issue, the Social Security Trust Fund is a misnomer that suggests the government will issue Social Security checks regardless of the health of the general treasury, which TSCL has long-contended is not the case.
"We need to be straight with America's seniors – the so-called health of the Trust Fund is not enough to guarantee a monthly check," said TSCL Chairman Larry Hyland. "Still, I am confident in this case that lawmakers will not leave America's seniors stranded, and I am optimistic that seniors will receive their much-needed Social Security checks in August."
If the debt limit crisis is not resolved by next Tuesday, TSCL is calling on Congress to pass – and the President to sign – emergency legislation that would ensure all seniors would receive their checks on time.
TSCL is also asking seniors to contact their Members of Congress to express their concerns about potentially not receiving their Social Security checks next month.
With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.
SOURCE The Senior Citizens League