Studies have found that as Social Security benefits improve, people over the age of 65 live longer. The most recent study, published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, shows that individuals over the age of 65 have lower rates of mortality following both the founding of Social Security and each improvement of Social Security. When the country’s older residents have improved health, the country experiences other fiscal improvement, such as lower Medicare costs.
The study analyzed the effect of Social Security on mortality, after taking into consideration other factors like economic changes and access to medical care. When Social Security was introduced in 1940, it was found that the mortality rates of individuals over the age of 65 changed more than 50% while younger adults mortality rates stayed the same during the same period. The trend repeated during the mid 1960’s and early 1980’s when improvements were made in Social Security benefits.
When law makers consider cutting Social Security benefits in an effort to improve the federal budget deficit, they need to consider the full effect of such a move. If improvements to Social Security result in improved mortality and health and decreases in Medicare costs, it stands to reason that cutting Social Security benefits will cause lower life spans, decreased health and increased Medicare costs.