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Seventy-four percent of Americans surveyed just after the Nov. 3 presidential election said Social Security would have to face an immediate crisis — the trust becoming insolvent, for example — for Congress to try to fix the program.

Respondents age 35 to 44 and those 65 and older were particularly pessimistic, with 79% in  each group agreeing that Social Security would need to be in crisis before Congress intervened.

The Harris Poll conducted the online poll on behalf of PlanGap from Nov. 5 to Nov. 9 among 2,050 U.S. adults.

Fifty-one percent of survey participants said they did not believe Congress wanted to fix Social Security, an outlook especially prevalent among those 55 to 64 who are nearing retirement age.

“By an overwhelming majority, Americans agree that the single most important source of retirement income for millions of their fellow citizens will basically have to be insolvent before an effort is made to solve this inevitable problem,” PlanGap’s founder and chief executive David Duley said in a statement.

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“Nobody knows whether the solution will include benefit cuts when the crisis arrives, which is why people need to start planning now.”

According to the survey, 73% of Americans believe Congress’s retirement benefits should be suspended until Social Security is fixed, rising to 78% for those 45 to 54.

PlanGap said in its statement that the firm had recently rolled out a Social Security-focused annuity, the first in a series of “trigger-based” annuity and life insurance solutions that address fundamental financial issues for Americans.

In the event of a government reduction to monthly Social Security benefit payments, the annuity will pay policyholders a bonus based upon the duration and initial amount placed into the contract.

This “PlanGap Bonus” escalates over time and caps at 30% of the initial annuity value. “Before, there was nothing Americans could do about the future of Social Security and how it might impact them,” Duley said. “Now, thanks to innovations in the insurance industry, people are waking up to the reality they can actually take back control.”

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