Social Security looks like an issue that may be side-stepped in tense bipartisan talks over the federal budget and deficits.
That isn't a recipe for disaster. Annual shortfalls in the program aren't expected to exceed 0.5 percent of America's annual gross domestic product (GDP) before 2020, for example.
But some independent finance experts say delay is not a good thing, either.
"If there is one central message among all of the findings from this year’s Trustees report, it is that the time for Social Security reform is now," the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, headed by Maya MacGuineas, wrote in a report Friday.
"With each year’s updated projections we learn that we have less and less time to implement gradual changes," the report said. "Whether for the sake of the budget or for all current and future beneficiaries ... lawmakers must implement changes."
The sooner action is taken to shore up the program, the easier it will be to fix, fiscal specialists say. That's because of the aging profile of the nation, with longer life expectancies and a wave of baby boomer retirements.