Disability, Retirement

Social Security Funded Until 2034, and About Three-Quarters Funded for the Long Term; Many Options to Address the Long-Term Shortfall

June 22, 2016 • By

Last Updated: June 22, 2016

Trustee's ReportThe Social Security Board of Trustees today released its 76th annual report to Congress on the financial status of the Social Security trust funds.  As a trustee of Social Security funds, I work with the other trustees to ensure the public is informed about the status of Social Security’s finances for the short term and over the next 75 years.

Workers earn their Social Security benefits by contributing through deductions from their paychecks. The Social Security trust funds include the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) fund, which pays benefits to retired workers and their families and to the families of deceased workers; and the Disability Insurance (DI) fund, which pays benefits to disabled workers and their families.

Today’s report shows that, as a whole, Social Security is fully funded until 2034, and after that it is about three-quarters financed. Considered alone, the DI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted sooner than the combined Social Security funds. I am pleased that legislation signed into law by President Obama last November averted a near-term shortfall in DI. With that small, temporary reallocation of the Social Security contribution rate, the DI fund will now be able to pay full benefits until 2023, and the retirement fund alone will be adequate into 2035. It is important that Congress act well before 2023 in order to strengthen the finances of the program as a whole.

Young people frequently ask: “Will Social Security be there for me?” I take this question very seriously, and I am sure Social Security will be there in the future. Its total cost is now about 5% of the national economy, or GDP. That will rise to about 6% when all of the baby boomers are retired. That increase, 1% of GDP, is less than the nation’s increase in spending for public education when baby boomers were children.

As President Obama recently said:

“Fewer and fewer people have pensions they can really count on, which is why Social Security is more important than ever. We can’t afford to weaken Social Security. We should be strengthening Social Security. Not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.”

Like the President, I am confident we will rise to the challenge. Social Security is an earned benefit—a benefit that is critically important to the people who receive it. It is a foundation of economic security when workers and their families face what Franklin D. Roosevelt called “the hazards and vicissitudes of life.” It is the nation’s most effective poverty prevention program, keeping 21 million people out of poverty. So when we talk about Social Security financing, it’s not just a budget exercise – it’s our retirement system and our family economic security system, now and for the future.

Lawmakers have many policy options to address the shortfall: increasing contribution rates, lifting the cap on earnings subject to contributions, drawing on other revenue sources, lowering benefit amounts, or a combination of changes. Social Security’s independent actuaries have analyzed over 100 policy proposals from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and those results are available on the Actuary’s website. Lawmakers should act soon to address the long-term shortfall and preserve the reserves that yield interest income to help pay future benefits.

I am confident about the future of Social Security. We look forward to continuing to serve the American people by delivering the foundation of economic security that we know as Social Security


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About the Author

Acting Commissioner of Social Security (February 14, 2013 - January 20, 2017)

Comments

  1. Brad M.

  2. Keneth J.

    I would like to know, why I’ve been receiving only 75% of my benefits since 2009. As requested by the President, I took a 2 year early retirement. Since then I’ve been receiving 25% less as a result. I received a form letter a few months after I applied, saying I would receive my full benefits when I turned 65, which would be in 2011. That never happened. I put letter away but as usual it got misplaced or thrown out. Now I would like to know is there any way this could be correct

    • Ray F.

      Unfortunately, and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot answer your question at this time. One of our representatives should be able to provide you with an explanation. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  3. Anita

    I THINK ITS DISGRACEFUL TO SPEND 20 TRILLION ON A WALL BUT CAN’T SEEM TO PAY BACK A TOTAL OF 2.3 TRILLION AND FIX SOCIAL SECURITY.
    THIS IS A SECURITY ISSUE THAT SHOULD TAKE PRIORITY OVER A STUPID WALL.
    SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD BE PAYING OUT AT MIN. THE SAME AS MIN WAGE. IF MIN. WAGE IS BASED ON COST OF LIVING HOW CAN ANYONE LIVE ON LESS. SOCIAL SECURITY HAS MADE SO MUCH MONEY THE UNITED STATES SHOULD OF CREATED ITS OWN BANKING…. NEVERTHELESS IT NEEDS TO BE PAID BACK.ASAP NOT CUT BACK IN 2034 UNTIL IT NO LONGER EXISTS.
    HUGE FAIL TRUMP AND UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

  4. MARYANN M.

    TELL THE RYAN,,,TO LEAVE SOCIAL SECURITY ETC. ALONE,,,THAT IS OUR RIGHTFUL EARNINGS,,,,WE WORKED HARD ALL OUR LIFE,,,;MEDICARE…..IS NOT A HANDOUT WE PAID OUR DUES,,,I STARTED PAYIN WHEN I WAS 15,,I AM 82,,,,,,AND RELATIVELY HEALTHY,,,,THANK GOD…

  5. James O.

    2

  6. Nicci

    I’m 26 and barely getting my life together, after a few wrong turns. I had an unfortunate upbringing but I’ve always been a person that sees things for what they are. The one thing is my generation and younger the kids that r to be the future has me on edge. I am a person that analyzes my surroundings and .man are kids lazy these daus. Don’t know value of the dollar. N certainly don’t know or even wanna know what it’s like to work for it. I’m in fear come 2042,3,4,etc will there be enough doctors, teachers or even a damn Pres. of our Natyion?? We really don’t know! There was a recent study; students in the 80’s, & 90’s were prepared for adulthood as adolescents. Adolescents today prove to be a lot more immature even though they appe ar to be more older than the adolescents circa 91′. Ani right or am I right???

  7. Shirley M.

    I need to be sure my address has been changed

    • Shirley M.

      so, is this not a way to get help with address change?

      • Ray F.

        Hi Shirley, for security reasons, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. If you get Social Security benefits or are enrolled in Medicare, you can change your address online by using a my Social Security account. See our Frequently Asked Questions web page for more information. Thanks!

    • Ray F.

      Hi Shirley, for security reasons, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. If you get Social Security benefits or are enrolled in Medicare, you can change your address online by using a my Social Security account. See our Frequently Asked Questions web page for more information. Thanks!

  8. Krystalon S.

    I feel…that COLA, is a very important matter to address, here. Us…people need to be able to afford to pay for rent, water, utilities, food…

    Our necessities should come first, then…our desires!
    Most importantly…we need to have roofs over our heads, food to put on our tables, and clothes to put on our backs!
    We simply cannot do without those things!
    Most of all…we cannot do without Social Security!

    Whoever…said that it was outdated was just being just plain ignorant…and, stupid!

  9. Droidpile@Mothers D.

    A Mother is a Special creature created by a God who always thinks good for her children but never expects anything back from them. She always wishes to make her children independent and a better human being. To read more articles about mothers day, please visit here – https://www.droidpile.com/

  10. ray s.

    social security also pays for education grants, federal salaries, aircraft carriers, cotton subsidies, windmill farms, and 1000s Washington boondoggles

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