SS Trustees: System Goes Bust in 2041

March 23, 2005 ( - Wednesday's release of the 2005 Social Security Trustees Report was mostly full of bad news.

According to a news release, the documentshows little change in the fiscally strapped system’s financial future with the system now expected to run out of money in 2041 – a year earlier than first predicted.

The nation’s social security program has been much in the news lately with Bush Administration proposals to allow younger workers to invest a portion of their social security assets in private accounts.

The report, according to the government announcement, also revealed that:

  • the projected point at which tax revenues will fall below program costs comes in 2017 – one year earlier the projected
  • the projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 1.92% of taxable payroll, slightly higher than the estimate in last year’s report and the same as in the 2003 Trustees Report.
  • over the 75-year period, the Trust Funds require additional revenue equivalent to $4 trillion in today’s dollars to pay all scheduled benefits. This unfunded obligation is $300 billion higher than the amount estimated last year.
  • income to the combined Old-Age and Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds amounted to $658 billion in 2004.
  • during the year, an estimated 157 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • the Trust Funds paid benefits of more than $493 billion in calendar year 2004. There were 48 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.

The changes in key dates for the combined Trust Funds are due to updated economic data from last year’s report.

After the report’s release, US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao released a statement in which she asserted that the Trustee document merely reiterates the dire need for action from lawmakers.

“Today’s report reinforces the sobering message that unless a solution is enacted soon, the Baby Boomers’ retirements will bust Social Security,” Chao said in the message. “As the President is urging and this report attests:   we need a permanent and swift solution so that future generations can count on Social Security to be there for them too.”