One of the primary elder law issues faced by the elderly population today is health care and Social Security benefits. Throughout most of modern history, employees have retired from their jobs around the age of 62. This often causes financial concerns for elderly individuals, though. In many cases, the cost of living makes it difficult for an individual to establish a suitable retirement fund.
He/she may have only been able to earn the income necessary to make ends meet. This may leave an elderly individual with very few financial assets to survive retirement. After an individual retires from work, the bills will continue to come. An elderly individual may still be required to pay for a residence, and he/she will need to pay taxes, buy utilities, and purchase food. Without an adequate income, an elderly individual may find it difficult to survive. Therefore, elderly law has established public benefit programs so that the elderly can continue receiving an income to purchase necessary resources.
Public benefits that have been established by elderly law provide retired individuals with access to essential assets. Throughout an individual’s life, his/her income is taxed and a portion of his/her paychecks are given to the government. This system began in 1935, when the Social Security Act was established by President Roosevelt.
The Act was originally designed to address the millions of people that unemployed during the Great Depression. Individuals who were working would pay a portion of their income to the government, and these funds would be redistributed to individuals who were in dire need of money. The employed individuals paying taxes for Social Security could rest easy knowing that when they retired from work, the younger generation would be paying taxes in order to provide them with necessary financial support.
Today, the Social Security program is one of the major elder law issues causing a great deal of debate in the United States. Elderly law continues to maintain the Social Security system in order to guarantee that elderly individuals are provided with a necessary income. However, many scholars, politicians, and citizens are criticizing this elderly law.
Elder law issues generally address the availability of essential resources to the elderly population. While the Social Security system provides elderly individuals with financial resources, many individuals acknowledge that they will pay more money to the Social Security program than they will receive from it. For each individual that an employer pays wages, he/she will be required to pay 7.65% tax to the government, which the employee will also be required to pay from his/her annual income.
If that 15.30% were given to the employee to invest in a retirement fund, instead of given to the Social Security program, however, he/she would have access to more extensive financial resources after retirement than if he/she relies on the Social Security system alone. As more individuals come to acknowledge this, this elderly law becomes more controversial and more highly debated.
Many individuals who spent a large sum of money attending college and, as a result, received a high paying job, believe that they have earned the right to control their income, and therefore, do not believe that they should have to contribute to the Social Security program. Individuals that have established an adequate 401(k) plan will not need to rely on Social Security benefits, and therefore, they often feel that they should not be required to provide the government with monies to support other Americans.
Social Security benefits is a notable one of the elder law issues that is presenting the government with serious troubles. Recent projections indicate that the elderly population will continue to increase rapidly, and within twenty years, far more individuals will be collecting Social Security than will be providing the funds for the Social Security program.
While the success of the Social Security system was substantial in 1935, it seems that this benefit program is much less effective in today’s society, and the success rate will likely continue to decrease in the future. This is one of the elder law issues that the government must address and remedy.