Here's How Bernie Sanders Wants to Fix Social Security

It's already controversial.

And it will help decide the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

election 2016
Democrat Bernie Sanders speaks to a full crowd at the Medallion Center in Columbia, S.C., on Aug. 21, 2015.

A Gallup survey published on April 29 revealed that 66% of Americans believe Social Security is in a "state of crisis." Slightly more than half of those still working doubt they will ever receive Social Security benefits.

In July last year, AARP warned that if changes are not made soon, individual Social Security Income (SSI) benefits could be cut by up to $10,000 a year by 2033.

Already retirees' SSI benefits are suffering from low oil prices. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) wasn't raised for fiscal year 2016 -- as it likewise wasn't in 2010 and 2011 -- because of plummeting oil prices and a lack of inflation. This means that when prices do increase, retirees' benefits won't go up in lockstep - thus resulting in increasingly stressed bank accounts and tighter wallets.

Each of the 2016 presidential candidates has touched on how they'll make changes to fix Social Security.

Here's how Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' Social Security plan stacks up...

Bernie Sanders Wants to Increase Social Security Benefits

At a meeting with union workers in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Sanders criticized Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on her vagueness regarding Social Security reform.

"Here's a difference that Secretary Clinton and I have on a very important issue," Sanders said, according to a Time magazine report released the same day. "It is not good enough to say we are not going to cut Social Security -- that is an abomination. What we must to do is to say of course we're not going to cut Social Security, but we are going to expand Social Security."

Sanders' plan calls for increasing Social Security benefits to seniors by an average of $65 a month, reported Time. He would pay for the plan by lifting the cap on taxable income for Social Security to ensure that those earning more than $118,500 pay a larger share of their income.

Clinton has also called for lifting the cap on Social Security taxable income. However, Sanders has been markedly more specific about his plans than the former secretary of state has...

The Vermont senator advocates that the cap be raised to $250,000 per year:

It so happens that it's Sanders' Social Security policy that appeals to a majority of Americans -- even though he's viewed as an extremist on many other issues...

According to 2014 informal poll run by The Washington Post that allowed respondents to choose from as many as a dozen solutions to Social Security, 70% believed raising the earnings tax cap was the best move.

It's also the move that would affect the smallest number of people, reported The Washington Post, since a relatively low percentage of American taxpayers earn more than $250,000 per year.

Though many Americans don't make $250,000 a year - or $118,500, for that matter - a large portion of the U.S. population is about to be greatly affected by upcoming Social Security policy changes...

Those who are currently retired or near-retirement could easily be affected. However, there are filing tactics available now to make the most of Social Security benefits -- before they disappear as we know it. There are hundreds of thousands of dollars to be made by taking advantage of some of these tactics.

If you've paid 12.4% of your matched income into SSI your whole life - you could be eligible to reap the rewards hidden in the SSI code. Here's how to take back what you've earned before it's too late....

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