Social Security Trustees Report Says No Change to Long Term Status


The Social Security Board of Trustees just released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds and Medicare.


Image Credit: Donkey Hotey CC by 2.0

Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2028, extended from last year’s estimate of 2023, with 93 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2017 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $35 billion in 2016 to a total of $2.85 trillion.
  • The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2021. Beginning in 2022, the total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed income.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034 – the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.

“It is time for the public to engage in the important national conversation about how to keep Social Security strong,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “People understand the value of their earned Social Security benefits and the importance of keeping the program secure for the future.”

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $957 billion in 2016. ($836 billion in net contributions, $33 billion from taxation of benefits, and $88 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $922 billion in 2016.
  • Social Security paid benefits of $911 billion in calendar year 2016. There were about 61 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • Non-interest income fell below program costs in 2010 for the first time since 1983. Program costs are projected to exceed non-interest income throughout the remainder of the 75-year period.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.83 percent of taxable payroll – 0.17 percentage point larger than in last year’s report.
  • During 2016, an estimated 171 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.2 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2016 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.
  • The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 3.2 percent in 2016.

The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Thomas E. Price, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human Services; and R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

Medicare: The U.S. government program that pays for hospital care for the elderly will remain solvent through 2029, enabling it to escape mandatory spending cuts this year, according to a report by Medicare’s trustees released this week.

Last year’s report forecast the program would remain solvent only through 2028 and predicted that spending levels in 2017 would likely trigger the creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to automatically rein in costs. This year’s report means they dodged this bullet. The Board was created as a threat by Obamacare, and has the capacity to cut Medicare’s pharmaceuticals bill —  a potential bargaining tool to extract price concessions from Big Pharma to keep Medicare costs down. There are signs the Administration will abolish the IPAB  as it is unpopular on both sides of the aisle.

View the 2017 Trustees Report at

  • guestimate

    This is not a difficult topic, only that elite policy makers want to stifle public imagination of what is possible.

    Canada has a private fund management company managing their public retirement fund, and who have managed to quadruple their fund. USA could do this too, I recommend piggy-backing with the Canadians, right away!

    Another option, considering how willing the Fed was willing to extend free money to Wall St., banksters via QE (Quantatative Easing) I & II, would be to issue a credit to those banksters, say $1 Trillion dollars, to trade on behalf of the SSI Trust fund. Let them compete. The one that earns the most for the trust fund could be entrusted with a percent of actual trust funds the following year.

    However the real goal of Wall St. & wealthy elite is to eliminate safety nets & SSI altogether, force people to gamble in the unregulated Wall St. casino on a personal basis, and upon a winner-take-all, survival-of-the-fittest, “game theory.” It shows the 2 dimensional, spiritual sickness of these selfish, one-sided, missanthropic people.

  • lovinspoonful

    I think the Social security fund should be taken out of the government’s supervision. It is not their money – it is our so why are they in charge of it and have the capacity of borrowing constantly and for year and never paying it back.
    there should be a system that if the government borrows from it, it is bound to pay it back to the people. after all, it is their money, not the government’s.

  • Don Smith

    Many are against the privatization of social security. I am against it too under current conditions and Management. However, some simple changes in the area of wall street and the banking industry and I would likely prefer privatization over the government cartel we currently surrender our money to every payday.
    #1, Stop promoting and facilitating population control of future taxpayer’s with abortion.
    #2, Remove Wall Street’s ability to extort from investors by parent company forms new company that later folds after investment’s reach a desired level.
    #3, Privatize social security, giving each person the ability to choose where their money goes but continue to deduct a portion of their paycheck for it because most will not if given the option.
    There are of course more details to a common sense plan and I’m sure issues would come up. But the end goal of a comfortable and comparable lifestyle in retirement to the one most enjoy while working shouldn’t be so hard to do right if government really wanted to ” take care of everyone “.

  • Robert Zraick

    I read years ago of a way to fix the problem which would be fair to everyone. Stop Social security dead in it’s tracks now. Those who have paid in for their entire lives continue to get full benefits, Those who are young and who have paid 10% of the full amount they would have to pay in their life time get 10% of the social security amount when they retire. Being young, they have plenty of time to save for themselves rather than be sucked into a never ending Ponzi scheme looted by the bloated promise breaking government.
    If you are halfway through your working life, you get 50% of the promised benefits, etc.
    No one has every explained why this could not be done. It is totally fair. No one loses, and the bankrupted ponzi scheme can be ended once and for all.
    It will also make people responsible for themselves rather than dependent on the government.

  • guestimate

    Social Security is a government program, and no it’s not your money, does your name appear on the bills? Most people will never have time or acumen to handle their own retirement accounts, but if you’ve managed to save funds on top of SSI, do as you please. I agree that government must be held accountable and conducting the peoples’ business for the people, not Wall St. banksters.

  • ronboom

    Good idea; except for one thing… the government will borrow until it is insolvent and then raise taxes to make it solvent. The program is a joke — as are most government entitlements. Best course would be to repeal the entire thing… if I had control of 13% of the monies I had been paid since the age of 13 (now 47) I would be a multi millionaire!!! Instead, I am hoping to receive pennies on the dollar of a plan that I was forced into by a government that does not have my best interest in mind. The government has become it’s own best interest… We need a new government folks. We need government,,, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. The government we have is a bunch of self serving or pandering to those that they wish to garnish votes from. It is a parade of idiots. Government in America is not what the founders had envisioned. They envisioned a very weak federal government under close scrutiny from the states — where the sates definitely held the physical arms to destroy the federal government should it become tyrannical…. That ship has sailed and the left has constantly touted federal control or limiting state control of many functions that the constitution delegates to states. The house is divided against itself. It is evident to anyone that looks. The Federal government is the problem and needs to be reduced. Education needs to be handed back to local school boards. The EPA needs to be abolished — every State has an identical entity — we don’t need federal non-elected officials telling state non-elected officials what to do. The country would save billions!!!!

  • lovinspoonful

    Yes, it is our money. That is what we pay into every pay It is our insurance to be given to us at the age of 62 or 65. My name appears on the contribution I made every pay day and is sent to be applied to my account at Social Security – not the government. Don’t know where you got the idea that it is the government’s money because it is not..

  • guestimate

    You didn’t print it and it doesn’t have your name on it so no, it’s not yours. They can call it back any time, invalidate it, revalue or discount it or even change it altogether, making what you have worthless. The only thing you do is give it value by your use of it. It’s script, fiat currency. and they’re talking about raising the retirement age because people are ostensibly living longer. You really need to bone up on your homework. The government just prints the currency like Kinko’s but they sell it to the Federal Reserve banks at cost (about 4 cents per bill of every denomination) who then own it and LEND it into the marketplace. SSI is a retirement plan that policy makers can change or abolish all together. It’s scary but still a fact. And banksters are trying to sequester an ever greater portion of public funds by scaring you with trillion-dollar national debt figures, which dictates policy, never enough money for what needs to be done because the debt must be serviced (it can never be repaid.) Again, do your homework. Almost nothing in this world works the way you think it does, at least not at the financial level.

  • lovinspoonful

    I’m not even going to argue with you because what you say is so ridiculous and is not the way it works anyway. It’s a nice fairy tale but that is all it is. It is MY money that I contributed every pay day that I worked. When I retired I got it back monthly because it was MY money But you keep right on believing your little fairy tale and stay happy.

  • guestimate

    Careful what you wish for, SSI can very well be abolished and then what will you and other elderly people and the disabled live on? Life will get more stark than our national memory, back to the gilded age of robber barrons & poor houses, debtor prisons. Yes the problem with government is it serves corporations and not the people, and face it, the founders had no vision for the world we live in today. They believed in and owned slaves, marginalized the natives, treated women & children as property. Life was harsh, no OSHA, unions or advisory boards or public university research that raised our knowledge, standard of living and life appreciation. No I wouldn’t want to go backwards to their “vision” of anything, we’re better on our own at this point. The faux right is at fault for empowering corps to point where the needs of citizens are not addressed, too many foreign wars and taxes paid to finance them, and let oligarchs take our factories to a hostile, godless nation that still uses slaves. Fascism is a collusion between government & corporations and that’s the way they both like it. So you must like drinking polluted water and breathing dirty air because I’m old enough to remember when the Great Lakes were cesspools until there was a Federal EPA.

  • guestimate

    In case you’re wondering it’s not even money but mere promissory notes, corporate IOU’s that you agreed to use AS money; there’s no more gold backing so basically just cotton slips with ink on them, but we agree they work AS money, although most of what people use today are electronic transfers, never even reduced to actual paper currency any more. But you just keep believing it’s your “money” until the rumpTdump cuts payments, then won’t you be surprised and outraged, when the banksters want more and you get less. Unlike you I’ve no reason to engage in fairy tales.

  • ronboom

    Perhaps you didn’t understand the part where I said that I could have handled 13% of my income over the last 34 years much better than SSI. According to my most recent SSI statement… I have contributed over $218,000 and my employers have contributed over $223,000. I still have 18 years to go. If I had invested the monies that SSI took from myself and from my employers, on my behalf, for the last 34 years I would be getting ready to retire in a few years (I also have 401k and Roth IRA plans). Point being SSI does not reward people that work hard and contribute the most. The plan disproportionately rewards people that contribute the least. It is a socialist program that is destined to fail — as all socialist ideas eventually fail — they eventually ‘run out of someone else’s money’…! The SSI is scheduled to go bankrupt about 2 years after I am eligible to withdraw from it — my ROI is destined to be negative. I would have been exponentially better off without SSI…

    The founders were much better people than you could ever hope to be. The left chooses to demonize people that created a country unlike any ever tried before — where the rights of the people were guaranteed and government was limited. People from all over the world yearned to come to America. With all of her fault’s, America was a beacon to the rest of the world. You trash the founders as though you could have done better. You are not even in their league! You could not have done what they accomplished. Their accomplishment is the United States of America! What have you accomplished?

  • ronboom

    I also said that every state has it’s own version of the EPA. In the case of the Great Lakes — there are many agencies involved. Each Great Lake state, the U.S. government, the Canadian government, Canadian provinces, even down to municipalities have regulations relating to Great Lakes watersheds. The federal EPA is no longer needed as OSHA is no longer needed — every state has occupational safety and health agency equivalents. The federal government should abolish the department of education. Every state has one of their own. You are uninformed if you think doing away with federal departments results in catastrophes… All states have departments that are often redundant to the federal departments. States can and do handle these functions very well.

  • guestimate

    And yet I’m not impressed by those state agencies, as corporations lobby politicians everywhere to relax standards to nil so they can do what they always do at the people & workers’ cost. Sometimes states manage themselves well and sometimes they don’t.

  • guestimate

    I heard you I just don’t consider you the majority for whom SSI was designed. I never said it was a perfect program but it worked pretty well in the beginning and could be improved today but that there’s a pull to deconstruct it entirely by persons like yourself. Most people don’t have Roth & 401K plans, will never have the skill or time to manage their own retirements and SSI was meant to fill the breach that banks had caused when they decimated our economy by encouraging unbridled speculation that caused the Great Depression. situation is much the same today with bank deregulation, repeal of Glass-Steagall and crazy investments in derivatives. Much of our country was inspired by socialist (public policy) sentiments vs. the private and self-serving few, that’s part of our history, deal with it. People pay taxes for what they want from government. There’s be a lot more money for that, and lower taxes too, if we nationalized the banks and did away with the bankster entitlement. I know that sounds like a foreign language to you, the public awareness is redirected never to go there.

    So if you’ve done so well for yourself, don’t collect SSI, no one is forcing you. Sounds like you’re whining that some others benefit from the program. People get old and they can’t work. No one expected the globalist shift of jobs where we’d have to compete against slaves, due to the choices of traitorous US billionaires.

    Not impressed by the founders and you don’t know me. Sure they were good for their time (as white people bask over their reflections) but we’re way better people as a whole today. History is written by the victors. Don’t get me started on the crimes committed against native peoples right up to the present day, who had and still have no rights when they have something government & business want to take.

    People came to America because circumstances were worse elsewhere. That doesn’t mean that America can’t be a lot better, and that never happens by kissing the ‘rumps of corporations who collude with government for an ever bigger share of the public pie and who sell out more of our freedoms by the day. Not born yesterday. Of course the trend is to bring slavery back again. How else to compete with the Chinese! All by design.

    I have fathomed various systems to perceive their defects and improvements. I have also uncovered (with others) the secrets of unlimited free energy which business & government has suppressed at public cost. That’s a little better than penny-pinching Ben Franklin’s pulling electricity down from a kite; but I didn’t come here to brag. A lot of others have done outstanding things albeit unrecognized. No good deed goes unpunished. Grandstanding, bragging, promenading is one of the most repellant attributes of con-servitudes and mercantile men selling substandard products & ideas.

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