If you are at the age when you are planning for retirement, consider this: Unless something changes, it is entirely possible the Social Security program will be insolvent while you still need help from it.
Trustees of the Social Security program reported this week that, at current rates and trends, the system will be flat broke by 2033. That is three years earlier than predicted in the last trustees report.
An even grimmer outlook faces the Social Security program providing benefits to the disabled. It will run out of money by 2016 - just four years from now, the trustees warned. That will not actually happen because federal officials will do what they have in the past to shore up the disability program. They will use money from the old-age benefits system - and that may force it into insolvency even sooner than 2033.
Social Security's health has been the topic of discussion in Congress for decades. But, under both Republican and Democrat presidents and congresses, nothing substantive has been done.
The longer reforms are delayed, the more difficult it will be to get Social Security back under control. No one even wants to talk about the issue, because of the upcoming November elections. But action is needed - and soon.