Social Security

Understanding the Social Security Trust Funds

Few budgetary concepts generate as much unintended confusion and deliberate misinformation as the Social Security trust funds. Political candidates of both parties accuse their opponents of “raiding” the trust funds. Some writers disparage the trust funds as “funny money,” “IOUs,” or a “fiction.” All these claims are nonsense. In fact, the Social Security trust funds are invested in Treasury securities that are every bit as sound as the U.S. government securities held by investors around the globe;investors regard those securities as being among the world’s very safest investments.

 

What the 2014 Trustees’Report Shows About Social Security

Social Security can pay full benefits for close to two decades, the trustees’latest annual report shows, but will then face a significant, though manageable, funding shortfall that the President and Congress should address in the near future. Doing so would permit changes that are gradual rather than sudden and allow people to plan their work, savings, and retirement with greater certainty.

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Chart Book: Social Security Disability Insurance

Disability Insurance (DI) is an integral part of Social Security. It provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves on account of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the DI program.

The following charts provide important background information about Social Security Disability Insurance.

Part I: Why Is Social Security Disability Insurance Important?
Part II: Why Have the DI Rolls Grown?
Part III: Who Receives DI?
Part IV: What Financing Issues Does DI Face?

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Basics

Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million retired workers and workers with disabilities, their dependents, and their survivors.  Though Social Security is best known as a retirement program, one-fifth of the program's beneficiaries are non-elderly adults (under age 62) or children who receive survivors' benefits or disability insurance benefits.

Policy Basics:
- Top Ten Facts on Social Security

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The Center examines the effects of Social Security on poverty (including poverty among children) and on particular demographic groups. We also analyze Social Security reform proposals to determine their likely impact on the program’s long-term solvency and its effectiveness in reducing poverty and hardship.

By the Numbers

Social Security Dramatically Cuts Poverty Among Seniors
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