Social Security Depletion Date Unchanged

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as last year’s estimate, according to this year's Trustees Report.

The Social Security Board of Trustees says the combined assets of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than last year’s target, with 80% of benefits payable at that time.

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as last year’s estimate, with 77% of benefits payable at that time, and the DI Trust Fund is estimated to become depleted in 2052—20 years later than last year’s estimate of 2032, with 91% of benefits payable.

In the past year, the asset reserves of the OASI and DI Trust Funds increased by $3 billion for a total of $2.895 trillion.

In 2020, the total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income for the first time since 1982. It is also projected to remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2020. Meanwhile, Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.

“The trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and give workers and beneficiaries time to adjust to them,” says Nancy Berryhill, acting commissioner of Social Security. “The large change in the reserve depletion for the DI Fund is mainly due to continuing favorable trends in the disability program. Disability applications have been declining since 2010, and the number of disabled-worker beneficiaries receiving payments has been falling since 2014.”

The report also said that total income to be combined OASI and DI Trust Funds was just over $1 trillion in 2018, and total expenditures from the funds was $1 trillion. In 2018, Social Security paid nearly $989 billion in benefits to 63 million beneficiaries.

The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.78% of taxable payroll, down from the 2.84% projected last year. In 2018, 176 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes. The cost of $6.7 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2018 was 0.7% of total expenditures. The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned 2.9% of interest in 2018.