Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is proposing raising the retirement age for those who are currently in their 20s so it “matches life expectancy.” However, figures show life expectancy for Americans is declining.
Nikki Haley’s plan could see Gen Z forced to work longer than previous generations
“What you would do is, for those in their 20s coming into the system, we would change the retirement age so that it matches life expectancy,” Haley told Fox News during an interview.
Haley is essentially proposing that the only way to keep the entitlement programs solvent is to make changes affecting future generations, CNN reported.
“It is unrealistic to say you’re not going to touch entitlements,” Haley continued. “The thing is you don’t have to touch it for seniors and anybody near retirement. You’re talking about the new generation, like my kids coming up.”
“You’re coming to them and you’re saying, the game has changed,” Haley added. “We’re going to do this completely differently.”
Lawmakers facing tough choices in sustaining Social Security and Medicare
Lawmakers of every political stripe are currently faced with the dilemma of how to sustain the Social Security and Medicare benefits programs whose trust funds are projected to become depleted in 2034.
Last year, the Social Security Administration warned that when the funds run out, the government will only be able to provide approximately 78% of the promised benefits to recipients, CNBC reported.
Recent studies show life expectancy declining in the US
In 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan raised the retirement age by two years – from age 65 to 67 – saying that “we’re entering an age when average Americans will live longer and live more productive lives.”
However, Reagan’s assumption of an ever-rising life expectancy turned out to be false, with a new analysis showing that life expectancy in the US actually fell during that same period, according to Common Dreams.org.
Currently, while some lawmakers are still arguing the retirement age should be raised because life expectancy is rising, the latest figures show the reverse is happening – life expectancy for Americans is in decline.
Last August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported life expectancy at birth in the United States declined by nearly a year from 2020 to 2021. Life expectancy for men and women combined dropped to 76.1 years – the lowest level since 1996. Life expectancy for men dropped to 73.2 years, while women dipped to 79.1 years.
Based on the above figures, a male not collecting Social Security benefits until age 70 would only collect benefits for 3.2 years before death, compared to collecting benefits for 8.2 years had Reagan not changed the number from age 65, and 6.2 years from the current age of retirement 67.
What are the current retirement ages?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the term “full retirement age” to refer to the age at which recipients receive their full benefits. Previously, SSA used the term “normal retirement age.”
-For those born in 1937 and prior, the “normal retirement age” is 65.
-From 1938-1942, the “normal retirement age” is 65 and a number of months.
-For those born between 1943-1954, the “full retirement age” is 66, which goes to 66 and a number of months for those born between 1955-1959.
-For those born in 1960 or later, the “full retirement age” is 67, according to SSA.