SSA Releases Annual Trustees Report

Apr 28, 2020 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

The Social Security Board of Trustees released Wednesday its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. Notably, projections do not reflect potential implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as last year’s estimate, with 76 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund is estimated to become depleted in 2065, extended 13 years from last year’s estimate of 2052, with 92 percent of benefits still payable.

The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income, for the first time since 1982, in 2021 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Social Security paid benefits of $1.048 trillion in calendar year 2019. There were about 64 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.21 percent of taxable payroll—higher than the 2.78 percent projected in last year’s report.
  • The cost of $6.4 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2019 was a very low 0.6 percent of total expenditures.

Commissioner of Social Security Andrew Saul says, “Given the uncertainty associated with [the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic], the Trustees believe it is not possible to adjust estimates accurately at this time. he duration and severity of the pandemic will affect the estimates presented in this year’s report and the financial status of the program, particularly in the short term.”

You can find the Social Security Administration press release here and an infographic about the program’s long-term financial outlook here.

 

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