Social Security shortfall: Limiting benefits based on need could fix it. But is it fair?

Regardless of income level, seniors can get Social Security payments. In actuality, it is feasible to live comfortably in retirement on $3 million while still receiving Social Security.

But some legislators could want to change that by instituting a means-testing system for Social Security benefits. Here is how that might operate and possible effects.

In the not-too-distant future, Social Security will experience a significant financial shortfall. The trust funds for the program would run dry by 2035, according to a recent projection by its Trustees.

If politicians can't find a means to increase funding for Social Security after that, payout reductions will be a real possibility.

Means testing is one such option for achieving that objective. The idea of allocating benefits to retirees in accordance with need is known as means testing.

There are several possible outcomes for means testing today. Seniors who earn more over a particular amount may have their Social Security benefits lowered, according to lawmakers.

They may determine that seniors with higher incomes are not eligible for Social Security at all.

81 percent of respondents in a recent survey by the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation supported cutting Social Security benefits for those with higher incomes.