Democratic and Republican congressional leaders have said that Social Security and Medicare will not be part of any fight over the debt ceiling, but a bipartisan group of senators and some conservative Republicans have toyed with changes to Social Security that could limit benefits.
The bipartisan group of senators has reportedly discussed a plan that could increase the full retirement age to 70. Other options for shoring up the program’s finances have been changing the formula for benefits that are paid out to retirees or increasing Social Security taxes, which are currently capped at applying to the first $160,200 of wage income.
This would not be the first time the retirement age for Social Security was increased in order to make the program’s finances pencil out. Life expectancy has risen since the system was established in the 1930s with a retirement age of 65. Reforms in the early 1980s started the process of slowly raising the retirement age to 67, as the life expectancy for those who reached 65 had risen a few years since the 1930s.