Social Security Trustees say program's financial health, solvency has improved

Social Security’s financial health is on the upswing, according to today’s report from the Social Security Trustees.  The system’s reserves are now projected to last until 2035 (a full year longer than last year’s report projected), with the government able to pay 80% of benefits after that time – but only if Congress does nothing to fortify Social Security’s finances.  This year, Social Security will take in more than it pays out.  As a result, the asset reserves of the combined trust funds will increase by $3 billion in 2018 to a total of $2.895 trillion.  Here are some of the Trustees’ other key findings:

  • Social Security’s projected actuarial deficit over the next 75 years has shrunk from last year’s projection – from 2.84% to 2.78%.
  • The program’s $6.7 billion in administrative costs was a “very low” 0.7 of total expenditures.
  • The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned an effective annual interest of 2.9% in 2018.

“This year’s Trustees report shows that, contrary to conservative propaganda, Social Security is not ‘going bankrupt’ or ‘in peril.’  The system’s financial health has improved over last year, and Congress now has before it two landmark pieces of legislation that could put Social Security on a sound financial footing for the rest of the century — and provide seniors a modest benefit boost and tax relief.” – Max Richtman, National Committee president 

The National Committee endorses Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100 Act and Senator Bernie Sanders’ Social Security Expansion Act.  Both bills ask the wealthy to pay their fair share to strengthen Social Security, something overwhelming majorities of the American people support in poll after poll.

The Trustees of the Medicare program report that the federal senior health care program’s finances look about the same as they did in 2018.  Medicare’s Part A trust fund will become depleted in 2026, at which time the system still could pay 89% of benefits.  But, again, this is only if Congress takes no action to bolster Medicare’s finances.

“The National Committee supports legislation that would reduce Medicare’s costs – especially allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices with Big Pharma – while expanding seniors’ health benefits.  Again, we call on the Trump administration and Congress to act swiftly to effectuate common sense solutions without jeopardizing the health and security of seniors. The 2019 Trustees report should take the wind out of the sails of conservatives who want to ‘reform’ Social Security and Medicare through benefit cuts.” – Max Richtman