Another annual report on Social Security funding, another batch of bad news.
The trustees who oversee the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare benefits issued their 2016 annual report Wednesday — along with a message to the public urging Congress to act “sooner rather than later” to prevent shortfalls.
In the past fiscal year, Social Security and Medicare expenses accounted for 41 percent of all federal program expenses.
The latest annual report forecasts:
- The Social Security trust fund for old-age benefits will deplete its reserves by 2034. This date is the same as the trustees predicted last year.
- The Social Security trust fund for disability insurance benefits will deplete its reserves by 2023. This date is later than the trustees predicted last year.
- The Medicare trust fund for Part A, which covers hospital insurance costs, is projected to deplete its reserves by 2028. This date is two years earlier than the trustees predicted last year.
Once Medicare Part A reserves are depleted, trustees expect that only 87 percent of hospital insurance costs would be covered.
Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visit and other outpatient costs, and Part D, which covers prescription drug costs, are better off because current law provides for financing from other sources. So they are expected to be “adequately financed into the indefinite future.”
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the managing trustee of Social Security and Medicare trust funds, said in a speech Wednesday:
“… we have some time to address the fiscal challenges faced by the vitally important Trust Fund programs. But reform will be needed, and Congress should not wait until the eleventh hour to address the fiscal challenges given that they represent the cornerstone of economic security for seniors in our country.”
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