Long-Term Survival of Social Security Unchanged in
Latest Trustee Report
Downhill slide will begin with 2021; depleted in 2033
3, 2013 – There was little news in this year’s Social Security Board of
Trustees annual report on the long-term status of the trust funds, since
there was no change from last year. Everything is fine until 2021, when
the cost of the program seems destined to exceed income.
The combined assets of the Old-Age and Survivors
Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to
become depleted in 2033, unchanged from last year, with 77 percent of
benefits still payable at that time, according to the report posted
The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2016,
also unchanged from last year’s estimate, with 80 percent of benefits
In the 2013 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees
● The combined trust fund reserves are still
growing and will continue to do so through 2020. Beginning with 2021,
the cost of the program is projected to exceed income.
● The projected point at which the combined
trust fund reserves will become depleted, if Congress does not act
before then, comes in 2033 – the same as projected last year. At that
time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of
● The projected actuarial deficit over the
75-year long-range period is 2.72 percent of taxable payroll -- 0.05
percentage point larger than in last year’s report.
“The Social Security Trust Funds’ projected
depletion dates have not changed, and three-fourths of benefits would
still be payable after depletion. But the fact remains that Congress
needs to act to ensure the long-term solvency of this vital program,”
said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “The
projected year for Disability Insurance Trust Fund depletion remains
2016, and legislative action is needed as soon as possible to address
this financial imbalance.”
● Income including interest to the combined
OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $840 billion in 2012. ($590 billion in
net contributions, $27 billion from taxation of benefits, $109 billion
in interest, and $114 billion in reimbursements from the General Fund of
the Treasury—almost exclusively resulting from the 2012 payroll tax
● Total expenditures from the combined OASDI
Trust Funds amounted to $786 billion in 2012.
● Non-interest income fell below program costs
in 2010 for the first time since 1983. Program costs are projected to
exceed non-interest income throughout the remainder of the 75-year
● The asset reserves of the combined OASDI
Trust Funds increased by $54 billion in 2012 to a total of $2.73
● During 2012, an estimated 161 million people
had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
● Social Security paid benefits of $775 billion
in calendar year 2012. There were about 57 million beneficiaries at the
end of the calendar year.
● The cost of $6.3 billion to administer the
program in 2012 was a very low 0.8 percent of total expenditures.
● The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned
interest at an effective annual rate of 4.1 percent in 2012.
The Board of Trustees is comprised of six members.
Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government:
Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Carolyn W.
Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Kathleen Sebelius,
Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Seth D. Harris, Acting
Secretary of Labor. The two public trustees are Charles P. Blahous, III
and Robert D. Reischauer.
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