Half truth/exaggeration:
The system is going bankrupt.
The system is not going bankrupt.

Is Soc. Sec. going bankrupt?
How big is the shortfall?
Is there really a surplus?
Will seniors' benefits be cut?
Are benefits guaranteed?
If you define "bankrupt" as not being able to pay your obligations in full, then you might argue Social Security will be bankrupt come 2042, using projections from the Social Security trustees, or 2052, using estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

That's when they project the system will have exhausted its surplus, which it will begin tapping in 2018 when there is less revenue than needed to cover promised benefits. (Click here to read about the half-truths regarding that surplus.)

By that logic, though, you also might argue that the U.S. government - with its roughly half-trillion-dollar deficit - is or will be bankrupt.

Some people have the impression that "bankrupt" means penniless. A full 50 percent of non-retired respondents in a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll said they didn't think Social Security would be able to pay them a benefit when they retire.

Not true, according to government estimates.

The system still will be taking in enough revenue to cover 75 percent to 80 percent of what is currently promised.

What's more, even if benefits were reduced to that level, they still would be higher in today's dollars than what current retirees are getting, according to CBO estimates.