New House rule sets up potential election-year battle over Social Security's finances in 2016

Retirement Planning Associated Press

The House has passed new rules that could force an explosive battle over Social Security's finances on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.

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Social Security's disability program has been swamped by aging baby boomers, and unless Congress acts, the trust fund that supports the program is projected to run dry in late 2016. At that point, the program will collect only enough payroll taxes to pay 81 percent of benefits.

To shore up the disability program, Congress could redirect payroll taxes from Social Security's much larger retirement fund — as it has done in the past. However, the House adopted a rule Tuesday blocking such a move, unless it is part of a larger plan to improve Social Security's finances, by either cutting benefits or raising taxes.