2018 Social Security Trustees report does not mean the system is going bankrupt

The 2018 Social Security Trustees Report confirms that the program’s trust fund is still very much intact, with $2.89 trillion in assets – or $44 billion more than last year.  The Trustees say the combined OASDI (Old-age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance) trust fund will remain fully solvent until 2034, after which it can pay 79% of benefits if there are no changes to the program.

“The Trustees have confirmed that Congress has ample time (16 years) to enact modest and manageable changes to Social Security to address the fiscal shortfall. Most Americans agree that raising the payroll wage cap is the easiest and most effective way to strengthen Social Security’s finances, negating the need for harmful benefit cuts like means testing or raising the retirement age,” – Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

A growing movement from seniors and their advocates to lift the wage cap and increase benefits has been underway since 2013. The National Committee’s Boost Social Security Now campaign endorses legislation in Congress introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and others, which keeps the Social Security Trust Fund solvent well into this century, while boosting benefits and cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).

On Medicare, the Trustees report shows that the Part A Trust Fund will be able to pay full benefits until 2026, at which point payroll taxes are estimated to be sufficient to cover 91% of benefits – if nothing is done to bolster the system’s finances.  The National Committee advocates several measures to keep Medicare financially sound, including a genuine push to allow the program to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

“President Trump’s recently unveiled prescription drug pricing proposals were a missed opportunity to bring Big Pharma to the negotiating table with the Medicare program.  Among all the steps we could take to maintain the program’s financial health, this is one of the most crucial.” -Max Ricthman

The National Committee advocates restoring rebates the pharmaceutical companies formerly paid the federal government for drugs prescribed to “dual eligibles” (those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid), in addition to innovation in the delivery of care and in the way care is paid for –  to keep Medicare fiscally sound for future beneficiaries.

Read in-depth analysis of the Social Security Trustees report and the Medicare Trustees report by the National Committee’s policy experts.