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Does Project 2025 want to eliminate Social Security benefits?

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Contrary to online claims, Project 2025 doesn’t call for ending Social Security benefits. But the Heritage Foundation has advocated for changes to the program.

VERIFY has received many questions about Project 2025, an initiative led by a conservative think tank called the Heritage Foundation that details a plan for the next conservative president to transform the federal government.

Some of Project 2025’s proposals include making it easier to fire thousands of federal workers, abolishing the Department of Education and eliminating federal funding for healthcare providers who administer abortions. You can read our overview of the proposal here

Some viral social media posts like this one also claim that Project 2025 proposes eliminating all Social Security benefits. Multiple VERIFY readers, including Pam and Diane, asked if that’s true.

THE QUESTION

Does Project 2025 propose eliminating Social Security benefits?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, Project 2025 does not propose eliminating Social Security benefits. But the Heritage Foundation has proposed changes to the program, such as raising the retirement age, and one of the Project 2025 co-authors has advocated for privatizing Social Security in the past. 

WHAT WE FOUND

Project 2025 does not include any proposals to eliminate Social Security benefits altogether, according to the text of the plan and the organization that created it.

However, the Heritage Foundation – the group behind the plan – has proposed some changes to Social Security, which include raising the retirement age. One of the Project 2025 co-authors has also advocated in the past for privatizing Social Security.

The Project 2025 initiative is laid out in a how-to guide for the next conservative president called the “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise,” which was published in 2023.  

VERIFY searched the guide and didn’t find any proposals to get rid of Social Security benefits. Social Security appears to only be mentioned by name in relation to other proposals, including one that would modify the current tax code. 

A spokesperson for the Heritage Foundation also told VERIFY that “Project 2025 does not advocate cutting Social Security benefits.” The official Project 2025 account on X reiterated this in a post on July 9.

But the think tank has proposed some changes to the program separate from Project 2025 . For example, it called for a raise in the Social Security retirement age as recently as June 2024.

Currently, people can begin receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62. But they are entitled to all of their benefits when they reach their full retirement age, which is 66 to 67 depending on a person’s birth year.

In an article published on June 17, Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Rachel Greszler, wrote that “policymakers should gradually increase the normal retirement age from 67 to 69 or 70 – moving the age up by one or two months per year – and index it to life expectancy.” Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was 77.5 years old in 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Greszler is listed as one of the “Mandate for Leadership” contributors. 

The Heritage Foundation advocated for other Social Security changes as part of a fiscal year 2023 budget proposal, which include shifting Social Security to a flat benefit and ending “double-dipping” between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and unemployment benefits. 

Stephen Moore, who served as Trump’s former policy adviser and is a co-author of Project 2025, has also recommended changes to Social Security in past years. 

During a 2018 talk hosted by Young America’s Foundation, an organization for young conservatives, Moore advocated for privatizing the program, allowing people to manage their own retirement funds through personal investment accounts. 

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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Does Project 2025 want to eliminate Social Security benefits?
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