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More Retirees Reliant on Social Security, report says

Reliance on social security has increased dramatically in Colorado and across the nation. That’s according to a report released today. And it comes at a time when lawmakers are debating how to reform what’s viewed as a broken system.

More than 89 percent of Coloradans of retirement age are tapping into social security. The nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research says nationwide reliance on the benefit for a prime source of retirement income over the past decade has increased 6 percentage points among men and 4 points for women.

“It’s bigger than all other income sources combined,” said Heidi Hartmann, executive director of IWPR.“Some people have earnings, some have pensions, some have assets. But 90 percent of the retired have social security.”

Hartmann says factors influencing this change are the recent recession and the changing landscape of how people are paying for retirement. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been struggling for years with how to make the fund solvent. The Congressional Budget office estimates that this year alone social security will collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in benefits.