BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Examining the Trustees’ Reports
The trustees’ report, with its projection that, in the absence of policy changes, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits only until 2033 — and about 75 percent of scheduled benefits after that — indicates Congress should act soon to address the program’s long-term financing shortfall. The projected 2033 date is three years earlier than the date in last year’s trustees’ report, although it is consistent with various earlier trustees’ reports. Over the past couple of decades, the year when the trustees project the Social Security trust funds will be exhausted has ranged from 2029 to 2042, moving both closer and farther away with new developments and projections relating to the economy, demographics, and other factors. . . .
The new report from Medicare’s trustees shows little change from last year’s report in the near-term outlook for the program, while indicating that the program continues to face significant financing challenges in the long run. The projected date of insolvency for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund is 2024 — the same as projected last year. . . .