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Later Retirement Among Congress Suggestions to Reform Social Security

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ROCKY MOUNT — If you're planning to retire in a few years, you may have to wait longer than expected for your first Social Security check. Congress is considering five proposals to reform the way the system works, two of which would make age 70 the earliest you could collect benefits.

The number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to double in the next 30 years. That's why lawmakers are hurrying to reform Social Security now to protect payments that will be paid out years from now.

Sue Millar could retire two years from now, but she has no plans to. Like many of her generation, she'd rather work than retire.

"Well, I think it just keeps you younger, keeps you feeling better, gets you in touch with people, and I've learned a lot of new skills here, computers particularly," said Millar.

The federal government hopes more Americans share Millar's feelings and are willing to work longer to save the Social Security system. Congress is considering several bills that would delay the first paycheck for people born in 1938 or later.

If a bill passes, it would most likely delay the first check about two months for recipients born in the late 1930's. As the baby boomers reach retirement, the wait would gradually grow to age 70.

One group of women are working with the local council of government to establish a center for Nash County's growing senior population. They say so many seniors are working these days that the delay might not get the negative reaction many people expect.

"I think many people would rather work and I find there's a difference in their thinking now in terms of the kind of work they do," says Wynne Bradley. "They're more particular about their jobs, but they still want to be working."

"When I was growing up, I saw somebody my age, I thought they were quite old," says Agnes Moore. "But, I don't feel that way any more and with modern medicine, people are living longer and we have more conveniences and life's just better."

The proposed reforms will not affect anyone already receiving Social Security. Also, any decisions reached would probably not take effect for at least five to seven years.


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