Can you rely on Social Security?

Published: Friday, May 30 2014 2:05 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, June 2 2014 3:21 p.m. MDT

Social Security is too popular to ever be allowed to go away, at least that's what CBS News' Steve Vernon thinks.

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Social Security is too popular to ever be allowed to go away, at least that's what CBS News' Steve Vernon thinks.

"Social Security will be around as long as democracy reigns," Vernon wrote Thursday. "As long as workers are paying FICA taxes, there will be money to pay for Social Security benefits for retirees and their beneficiaries."

Vernon is right about at least one thing: Social Security is very, very popular. According to Gallup, 82 percent of Americans plan on relying on Social Security as either a major or minor source of income. The Pew Research Center also found in a 2013 study that 41 percent of Americans think the government should increase spending on Social Security, with 46 percent saying the U.S. should maintain current spending. Only 10 percent said they believe cuts to the program are necessary.

"While Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support cutting Social Security, that’s still a decidedly minority position," Pew's Drew Desilver wrote.

However, as Vernon suggests in his article for CBS' Moneywatch, the entitlement's popularity hasn't stopped many Americans from worrying about the program's future.

"Starting in 2010 … taxes collected weren't sufficient to fund that year's benefit payments," Vernon explained in his article, a fact that Pew also pointed out in its FactTank report on Social Security.

"Social Security’s reserves will be fully depleted by 2033," Desilver wrote. "After that, while the system will still be receiving tax revenue, it will only be enough to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits." While commentors such as Vernon are optimistic about legislators fixing Social Security's future, DeSilver believes that "unless Congress changes the benefit formulas, raises the payroll tax, or makes other changes such as raising the cap on taxable wage income" there is little hope for the future of Social Security.

JJ Feinauer is a Web producer for Moneywise and Opinion on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: jjfeinauer.

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