Try Your Hand at Social Security Reform

Many people believe it’s easy to solve Social Security’s financial problems—think you’ve got what it takes? Play the Academy’s Social Security Game to learn about common Social Security myths, then explore options for reform and see how changes will affect younger workers, retirees, and the program’s long-term health.

Learn More
The Academy offers a wealth of material that examines Social Security’s financial condition, and related issues, from an actuarial perspective. Here are a few good places to start:
  • Aging Securely: The Academy’s Aging Securely initiative looks at options, including public policy proposals, that could help current and future retirees plan for and manage their lifetime income, health, and long-term care risks, and examines the sustainability of public programs that serve the needs of older Americans.
  • Social Security Reform Options: A 2014 monograph from the Academy’s Social Security Committee. This paper explores a variety of Social Security reform proposals and their implications.
  • Raising Social Security’s Retirement Age: This Essential Elements paper examines the potential impact of raising the full retirement age and concludes that in order to ensure long-term sustainability of this important system, we need to raise the full retirement age beyond 67.
  • More Social Security documents: More Academy documents about Social Security topics, starting with the most recently published.

Please click here to submit feedback on the Social Security Game.

All estimates used in this game are based on the most recent assumptions and calculations available from the Social Security Administration Office of the Chief Actuary.*

*All estimates used in this game are based on the assumptions and calculations to determine the 75-year actuarial balance for the 2016 OASDI Trustees Report available from the Social Security Administration Office of the Chief Actuary. Future updates to the game may be made as new information becomes available.
The following should be noted when interpreting results from the Social Security Game:
  • The 75-year actuarial balance calculation used in the game does not consider significant revenue shortfalls expected to occur after the end of the 75-year projection period, and thus possible solutions illustrated in this game are generally not sufficient to achieve “sustainable solvency,” a concept discussed in the Trustees Report.
  • The possible solutions assume immediate adoption of System changes, rather than gradual implementation. If changes to the System are gradually implemented, the required increases in tax revenue or benefit decreases will need to be larger than noted in the game to achieve actuarial balance.
  • The success of reforms will depend on how well actual future experience compares with the assumptions made by the trustees and the Social Security actuaries. There is no mechanism in current Social Security law to maintain the program’s actuarial balance once it has been achieved. Thus, there can be no guarantee that the System’s long-term problem will be “solved” for any specific length of time by enacting various system changes.