Even in a liberal bastion like Montclair, often when I meet clients and mention retirement, they reflect a common myth that Social Security is on the verge of bankruptcy and are convinced that the program will not be there for them. This view has been advanced largely by Social Security opponents or those who favor privatization. They then normally use this piece of information to advocate for drastic changes in Social Security whether privatization or increasing the age of retirement.
As discussed in Forbes in "Fake News: Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke" there is a lot of misinformation about the program. Social Security currently takes in more money every year than it pays out in benefits. That has created a surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund. In 2022, the program will not be bankrupt but will for the first time start paying out more than it takes in, due to demographic changes. However, without any changes in the program, the surplus will cover the outgoing benefits needed through 2034. Even in 2034, if the program was not changed in any way, Social Security benefits would not disappear. Benefits would have to go down slightly in order to ensure the program will only be able to pay out as much money as it takes in.
This means that politicians have a lot of time and options to fix Social Security, if they are willing to do so. They could raise the retirement age, modify benefits or tinker with funding for the program through reducing cost of living adjustments, raising the payroll tax rate or cap or modifying the indexing.