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Finally, some very good news about the Social Security trust fund. In a summary report published by the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, a number of important findings were made:
- Over the 83 year history of Social Security, there is an asset reserve of $2.9 trillion at the end of 2017
- In the short run, the combined asset reserves at the beginning of each year over the next 10 years will exceed the projected cost
- The projected funds will not be depleted until 2034 while the disability program alone is projected to not deplete the reserves until 2032
- Disability applications have been on a steady decline since 2010 and the total number of people on disability has been falling since 2014
- After 2034, when reserves are expected to be depleted, it is anticipated that scheduled tax income will be sufficient to pay about 75% of scheduled benefits until 2092
The news is not all good, however. The report indicates that the trust fund for all Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue to decline due to several factors:
- Rapid population aging cause by the large baby-boom generation entering retirement
- Lower birth rate generations entering employment
The report also notes that even though there has been a steady decline since 2010 in disability applications and a steady decline in people receiving those benefits since, 2014, it is anticipated by the trustees that these numbers will rise again by 2027 to levels projected in the previous report.
Overall, the short-term news for all Social Security programs is good. But with fewer people contributing to the trust fund in the future, with the retirement of baby-boomers and low birth rates to replace them, the outlook after 2027 is still troubling for retirees, the disabled, and those on Medicare.