By Jay Heflin - 08/12/10 01:00 PM EDT
Three-quarters of adults over the age of 18 plan to rely on Social Security benefits when they retire, according to a new poll from the AARP.
"The message from people of all ages to Washington is clear: Don't erode the one bedrock of retirement security that unites all Americans," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond in prepared remarks. "Americans see Social Security as a benefit they've earned over a lifetime of hard work, and they oppose it being used to reduce the deficit."
A clear majority of younger Americans appear to support this position, with 62 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 saying they plan on Social Security benefits to help pay their expenses in retirement.
The survey also showed a strong majority (85 percent) of those polled opposing reductions in Social Security benefits to shrink the deficit. Fifty-seven percent support Congress infusing additional revenues into the system to provide the current level of benefits to future recipients.
The findings come as Social Security celebrates its 75th anniversary on Aug. 14.
Arguably, support from preserving the program could stem from the fact that 77 percent of non-retired adults are worried they may not have enough money to live on in retirement.
To that end, 50 percent of them are willing to pay more now in payroll taxes to ensure the program's longevity. More than half (57 percent) of respondents under the age of 50 would prefer to pay more into Social Security so they can get the same level of benefits today as opposed to keeping payroll tax rates at current levels in exchange for lower benefits.
Survey responses come even though many of the participants know that Social Security is battling to maintain its solvency over the long-term.
"Younger Americans, although worried about whether Social Security will be there for them, value the program with unquestionable support and want to know that they can rely on the benefits when they retire," LeaMond said.