Nikki Haley Has Big Plans for Social Security Changes if She Wins 2024 Election

By: Lauren | Published: Jan 18, 2024

Nikki Haley, Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, recently engaged in a debate with her competitor, Ron DeSantis, and made some interesting comments about the country’s Social Security policies.

While DeSantis argued that he plans to lower the age for Social Security benefits, Haley said she plans to do the exact opposite if she becomes the first female president of the United States.

The Topic of Social Security Is Crucial in This Presidential Election

The Social Security issue is certainly an important topic throughout this year’s presidential debate, and that’s because there may not be any Social Security funds in just ten years.

Blank Social Security checks are run through a printer at the U.S. Treasury printing facility

Source: Thomas Cain/Getty Images

The moderator for the debate between DeSantis and Haley opened up the conversation by saying, “According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security will be unable to pay full benefits in a decade if no action is taken.”


What Does Ron DeSantis Have to Say About Social Security?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to the statement first by saying that all American seniors will receive the Social Security they have been paying for in their taxes their entire lives. However, he also said that he will never raise the age of retirement, as the life expectancy is decreasing.

Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

DeSantis didn’t really give his plan for the Social Security issue in any certain terms; his exact words were simply, “I will work with both sides of the aisle, we’ll work on something for the long term strengthening, but I am not going to mess with seniors’ benefits.”

Haley Had Harsh Words for DeSantis

Next, it was Haley’s turn to tell voters her plan for the future of Social Security, and it couldn’t have been more different than that of DeSantis. But first, she called out her adversary for lying to the American people.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis at the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nikki Haley said, “Three years in a row, he voted to raise life expectancy to 70 years old…go to, and you will see it,” and continued, “You can’t trust him.”

“Can’t Put Our Head in the Sand”

Then, she said, “Social Security is going to go bankrupt in ten years, Medicare is going to go bankrupt in eight… we have to keep our promises to seniors, but we also can’t put our head in the sand.”

Republican US Presidential candidate, former South Carolina Governor and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley

Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Haley continued, “For those like Ron that say they’re not going to touch Social Security, that means they’re going to leave after four or eight years and leave it bankrupt?”

Haley’s Response to the Social Security Problem

Her solution, she said, is that “we go to those in their 20s and say we’re going to change the retirement age to reflect life expectancy.”

Republican presidential candidate and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Haley also quickly said as the moderator announced the end of her time, “Instead of cost of living increases, we do increases based on inflation. We limit benefits on the wealthy, and we expand Medicare Advantage plans, which seniors love. That’s how we’ll deal with it.”


Understanding the Social Security Situation

To understand both DeSantis and Haley’s take on the Social Security situation, it’s crucial to know exactly what Social Security is and why it’s under scrutiny.

Social Security card on top of tax forms

Source: Investopedia

In the USA, taxpayers pay a percentage of their income into the federal Social Security fund so that when they retire, they can receive regular payments as they are no longer working. Social Security is also used for the unemployed and disabled, but unfortunately, the fund is being used quicker than it is being replenished.


Big Changes to Social Security May Be on the Way

The Social Security Administration is now saying that it will be completely empty in only ten years, so Haley argues that in order to stop that from happening, she is going to make big changes to the system, such as raising the retirement age from 67.

Young people in their 20s at work

Source: Freepik

To which many Americans, as well as the moderator of the debate, asked: “Should voters in their 20s plan on working until they’re 70?”


Nikki Haley Responded With More Digs Against DeSantis

After being asked such an important question, Haley first reminds viewers that DeSantis has been lying about his personal opinion on life expectancy and the retirement age.

Elderly man working on paperwork

Source: Freepik

But finally, she said, “They should be planning on the retirement age being raised, yes. We’re going to change it to reflect more of what life expectancy should be.”


Is Social Security an Entitlement?

DeSantis then said, “Governor Haley has said Social Security is an entitlement, but you know, it’s not an entitlement; you’re paying into it. It’s not a welfare program. You’re being taxed for this your whole life.”

Retired couple enjoys the beach on a cloudy day

Source: Freepik

In the end, the two candidates did agree on one thing: There needs to be real budget cuts in Congress and the entire federal government. And it seems they both plan to use those cuts to put money back into the Social Security fund.


This Isn’t the First Time Social Security Has Been in Trouble

For those who don’t remember, this isn’t the first time Social Security has been in the spotlight during a presidential debate.

Women protesting against private Social Security in 2004

Source: Richard Levine/Corbis/Getty Images

When George W. Bush ran for his second term as president of the United States in 2004, his top priority was Social Security reform. His plan was to privatize the Social Security fund, at least in part. And when he won, Bush tried to do exactly that. However, pushback from Congress meant that his plan never came to fruition.


What Is Next for Social Security?

Realistically, if changes aren’t made, the next generation may not have Social Security at all.

Man holding an empty wallet and coins

Source: Freepik

However, exactly what changes will be made to ensure that does not happen will depend completely on who is elected for president in November.