51% of working Americans doubt they’ll receive Social Security

August 17, 2015

WASHINGTON (8/17/15)--Half of nonretired Americans doubt they’ll receive Social Security benefits when they retire, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Of the respondents to the poll, which was conducted in the weeks leading up to the 80th anniversary of Social Security, 51% say they do not think they’ll receive the benefit when they retire.

Due to the country’s changing demographic composition, the Social Security Administration projects the system’s ability to pay full benefits to retirees will end in 2034.

“Americans’ doubtfulness about the long-term viability of Social Security thus would appear to have a basis in reality,” the report said.

Americans younger than 50, who will be retired or still working in 2034, are most skeptical about receiving Social Security benefits, with 64% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 and 63% of those between the ages of 30 and 49 believing they won’t receive benefits.

Those who are older than 50 are less skeptical, with 30% of people between the ages of 50 and 64 believing they will receive benefits. The poll indicates they may anticipate being grandfathered out of any future changes to the system.

Only 6% of those 65 and older who are currently working doubt they’ll get benefits.

Current retirees believe there will be changes to their Social Security benefits in the future. While down from 56% in 2010, 43% of current retirees predict there will eventually be cuts to their benefits.

The skepticism can be traced to Americans’ beliefs in well-being of the program. Two-thirds of Americans said Social Security is either in a state of crisis (21%) or has major problems (45%).

Two proposals--raising taxes or cutting benefits--have been proposed as ways to change the Social Security program and ensure its long-term solvency. Poll respondents favored raising taxes (51%) over cutting benefits (37%).