The 2017 OASDI Trustees Report confirms that the Social Security Trust fund is stable and healthy for now, but faces challenges in the future if corrective action is not taken. The most important figures remain consistent with last year’s report: The combined OASDI (Old-age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance) trust funds will remain fully solvent until 2034, after which Social Security can pay 77% of benefits if there are no changes to the program. The Trustees report there is now $2.847 trillion in the Social Security Trust Fund, which is $35.2 billion more than last year — and that it will continue to grow by payroll contributions and interest on the Trust Fund’s assets.
“Opponents of Social Security may once again try to use this report as an excuse to cut benefits, including raising the retirement age,” said Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. “We must, instead, look to modest and manageable solutions that will keep Social Security solvent well into the future without punishing seniors and disabled Americans.”
The National Committee endorses bills introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and others, which keep the Social Security trust fund solvent while boosting benefits and cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The bills achieve this mainly by phasing out the payroll tax income cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share into Social Security.
Forty percent of seniors (and 90% of unmarried seniors) rely on Social Security for all or most of their income. The average monthly retirement benefit of $1,355 is barely enough to meet basic needs, and the Trustees’ latest projected cost-of-living increase of 2.2% will not keep pace with seniors’ true expenses. Under these circumstances, any benefit cuts (including raising the retirement age to 70 as some propose) would be truly painful for our nation’s retirees.
“It is wrong to ask seniors of modest means to bear the burden of maintaining the financial health of Social Security, but it is perfectly reasonable to ask the wealthiest Americans to start paying their fair share by adjusting the income cap,” said Richtman.
On Medicare, the Trustees report shows that the Part A Trust Fund will be able to pay full benefits until 2029, and 88% thereafter if nothing is done to bolster the system’s finances. Depending on what the final version looks like, the Republican healthcare plan could reduce the solvency of Medicare by two years. The National Committee opposes the GOP health plan and rejects efforts to privatize Medicare. We advocate innovation and continuing efficiencies in the delivery of care, allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and restoring rebates the pharmaceutical companies used to pay the federal government for drugs prescribed to “dual eligibles” (those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid) – in order to keep Medicare in sound financial health.
The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.
Media Inquiries to:
Pamela Causey 202-216-8378/202-236-2123
Walter Gottlieb 202-216-8414