I agree with everything you've said. Will you be in my Cabinet??I'll address this as you have included industry pros in my field.
This is pretty easy, put the SS funds in a guaranteed account or as was mentioned in early 2k a "lock box" if you will, let the fund rebuild itself and then fund qualified individual annuity accounts for those entering the market currently using the surplus funds after mandatory payouts are met. As the program becomes more solvent dedicate more funds towards annuity principle and for those qualified funds exempt the "tax ceiling" on retirement accounts. That should get the program completely solvent in 5-7 years and independent within around 15.
Treat these as investments, give a "period certain" for benefits that will end barring disabilities or other specific special needs. For those who cannot find gainful employment there should be a minimum mandatory standard for job seeking to be proven on a monthly basis. Special concessions can be granted for the impovershed seeking further education based on a mandatory minimum GPA. I think that would be enough to reform welfare in a meaningful way.
Fully agree with this.
I'd actually just get rid of the standard administrators that seem to make the system completely unworkable and replace them with actual industry professionals from the private sector, I think that would be the best fix.