Strong Economy, Low Unemployment, and Higher Job and Wage Growth Extend Social Security Trust Funds to 2035

May 6, 2024 / By Elaine Floyd, CFP ®

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the financial status of the health 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 have enough dedicated revenue to pay all scheduled benefits and associated administrative costs until 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 83% of benefits payable at that time.

In the 2024 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds declined by $41 billion in 2023 to a total of $2.788 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2024 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2035. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 83% of scheduled benefits.

“This year’s report is a measure of good news for the millions of Americans who depend on Social Security, including the roughly 50% of seniors for whom Social Security is the difference between poverty and living in dignity—any potential benefit reduction event has been pushed off from 2034 to 2035. More people are contributing to Social Security, thanks to strong economic policies that have yielded impressive wage growth, historic job creation, and a steady, low unemployment rate. So long as Americans across our country continue to work, Social Security can—and will—continue to pay benefits,” said Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security. “Congress can and should take action to extend the financial health of the Trust Fund into the foreseeable future, just as it did in the past on a bipartisan basis. Eliminating the shortfall will bring peace of mind to Social Security’s 70 million-plus beneficiaries, the 180 million workers and their families who contribute to Social Security, and the entire nation.”

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.351 trillion in 2023. ($1.233 trillion from net payroll tax contributions, $51 billion from taxation of benefits, and $67 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.392 trillion in 2023.
  • Social Security paid benefits of $1.379 trillion in calendar year 2023. There were about 67 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.50% of taxable payroll—lower than the 3.61% projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2023, an estimated 183 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $7.2 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2023 was a very low 0.5% of total expenditures.
  • The combined trust fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.4% in 2023.

“I will continue to urge Congress to protect and support Social Security and restore the growth of the funds. Whether Congress chooses to eliminate the shortfall by increasing revenue, reducing benefits, or some combination, is a matter of political preference, not affordability. Congress currently has several bills that address the shortfall without benefit cuts—it should debate and vote on these and any other proposals. It’s critical that Congress acts quickly to address the projected trust fund shortfalls, to gradually phase in necessary changes as the Trustees have recommended,” Commissioner O’Malley said.

The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Martin O’Malley, Commissioner of Social Security; Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2024 Trustees Report here.

As director of retirement and life planning for Horsesmouth, Elaine Floyd helps advisors better serve their clients by understanding the practical and technical aspects of retirement income planning. A former wirehouse broker, she earned her CFP designation in 1986.


This material is provided exclusively for use by individuals with an active license to the Savvy Social Security Planning Program. Use of this material is subject to the Social Security Planning Program Agreement and applicable copyright laws. Unauthorized use, reproduction or distribution of this material is a violation of federal law and punishable by civil and criminal penalty. This material is furnished “as is” without warranty of any kind. Its accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed and all warranties express or implied are hereby excluded.

© 2024 Horsesmouth, LLC. All Rights Reserved.