Stock image of Social Security card

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that, by 2033, the Social Security trust funds will no longer have a sufficient balance to pay full benefits to recipients unless changes are made to the program, according to the office’s report released in December. If the program continues to pay benefits as scheduled under current law, the trust funds will reach a zero balance in 2033.

The CBO projections show spending on Social Security growing from 5 percent of GDP in 2022 to 7 percent in 2096, unless benefits are adjusted, while revenues stay at approximately 4.6 percent of GDP. That means Social Security’s Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund—which provides benefits to retired workers, their eligible dependents, and some survivors of deceased workers—would be exhausted by 2033. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which provides benefits to disabled workers and their dependents, would be depleted by 2048. Combining the trust funds would result in a 2033 exhaustion date, according to the CBO.

Further, if the trust funds are exhausted in 2033, benefits to Social Security recipients would have to be reduced by approximately 23 percent in 2034, compared with the current level of benefits. And they would have to be 35 percent lower by 2096, according to the CBO.

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