Saving social security in its current form is a very very bad idea. I know that AARP thinks that SS is great, but they think that for political reasons, not for common sense reasons. SS has become a transfer program for your grandchildren to you. Do you want that? Your grandkids get taxed so that you get a check. PLEASE--anyone who thinks you get what you paid in STOP that nonsense. You need to READ and stop repeating what other ignorant people tell you. YOU (average SS recipient) gets MUCH MORE than they paid in and thus, the money comes right out of your grandchild's check. In my opinion, that makes you a taker. If you want to understand the facts (and not that dribble that I see repeated again and again and again by people who have not spent 5 minutes looking at the numbers supplied in federal records), you can start here by taking a look at my SS benefit statement: https://www.retirementincome.net/social-security/social-security-benefit-statement. I am happy to debate this INTELLIGENTLY with anyone. BUT PLEASE debate from facts and not the nonsense I see ignorant people spout without foundation.
You are right - it is that way by design and has always been that way from the beginning. Those paying into the system during their working years are paying the benefits of the current beneficiaries.
It is those who are paying into the system that will have reform action placed upon them whether that is increasing the programs income or cutting benefits, meaning increasing the retirement age.
There will probably be few actions that will affect current beneficiaries although I really like the one that said a minor survivor had to stay in school to continue their benefit after 15 years old.
Course, if current beneficiaries demand MORE under some reasoning then that too has to be added into our children's / grandchildren's bill.
I do do not think that most people understand how benefits are figured - there is not an account with a name attached to it specifically - a person is vested into the program if they (and their employer, or by the self-employed paying both share) contribute during their working years - but their benefit is actually based on the amount they earned during their working years.
There is a lot of problems with the program just from a logistic standpoint. Take for instance a 40 year old couple - if only one of them works - the earner if they become disabled and is awarded SSDI - the earner gets it with a premium for his spouse, more if there are minor children. However, if it is the non working spouse that becomes disabled, NO benefit for them. Even though they would be able to have an Old Age benefit but not SSDI.
However, for a Spousal Old Age benefit, no contributions have ever been made by or for a no working spouse. Same thing for the Medicare benefit.
I am not saying they don't deserve it, I just saying that perhaps the working spouse should be contributing more for the nonWorking spouse.
Personally I like the solution of splitting the income reporting and contributions between a married couple during the years they are married for a more even share and share alike benefit. If divorce happens, both parties have their numbers to build their new life with, adding to them or not for the rest of their working careers or not working.