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How is Social Security Doing?

How is Social Security Doing?

Ron Kelemen - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Every July the trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds for the Old-Age & Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI) release their annual report on the health and long-range outlook of Social Security. The projections are based on numerous actuarial assumptions, which you can find in their 2017 Trustees Report. (The ones in the figure below are their intermediate assumptions.) The good news is that more money is still coming into the funds than going out. Payments to beneficiaries come from these reserves, interest earnings, and payroll taxes. The reserves will be depleted by 2034, the same as projected last year. At that time, benefits can only be paid by incoming payroll taxes, projected to be 77% of what beneficiaries are scheduled to receive. That is if nothing is done between now and then. The report projects that increasing the payroll tax by 2.83% could extend the longevity of the trust fund to 2090 and beyond. But more likely, a combination of fixes could accomplish the same thing. So, ignore the scare rhetoric about Social Security going bankrupt. Beneficiaries will still get full benefits through 2034, then about 23% less after that. In our opinion, It's still a good deal.

OASDI Income, Cost, & Expenditures and Percentages of Taxable Payroll

Source: 2017 Social Security Trustee Report.

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