2004 Trustees Report - Little Change in
Long Term Solvency of Social Security
The 2004 Social Security Trustees Report shows little change in
the projected financial status of the Social Security program over
last year. And again this year, the Social Security Board of Trustees
states that, absent changes, Social Security’s currently scheduled
benefits are not sustainable over the long term.
In the 2004 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
The projected point at which tax revenues will fall below program
costs comes in 2018 -- the same as the estimate in last year’s
The projected point at which the Trust Funds will be exhausted
comes in 2042 -- also the same as the estimate in last year’s
The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range
period is 1.89 percent of taxable payroll.
Over the 75-year period, the Trust Funds require additional
revenue equivalent to $3.7 trillion in today’s dollars
to pay all scheduled benefits. This unfunded obligation grew
$200 billion from last year.
“I want to assure those already receiving Social Security
benefits – as well as those who are close to retirement –
that your benefits are secure,” said Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner
of Social Security. “Reaching agreement on an appropriate
solution to Social Security’s long-term financing challenges
will require Congress and the President working together in a bipartisan
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
Income to the combined Old-Age and Survivors, and Disability
Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds amounted to $632 billion in 2003.
During the year, an estimated 154 million people had earnings
covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
The Trust Funds paid benefits of more than $470 billion in
calendar year 2003. There were 47 million beneficiaries at the
end of the calendar year.
The cost of $4.6 billion to administer the program continues
to be a very low 0.7 percent of total income.
Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted
to $479 billion in 2003.
The assets of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $153
billion in 2003 to a total of $1.5 trillion.
- Interest earned on the invested assets of the combined Trust
Funds was $85 billion in 2003. The combined Trust Fund assets
earned interest at an effective annual rate of 6.0 percent.
The Board of Trustees is comprised of six members. Four serve by
virtue of their positions with the federal government: John W. Snow,
Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Jo Anne Barnhart,
Commissioner of Social Security; Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of
Health and Human Services; and Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Labor.
The other two members, appointed by the President and confirmed
by the Senate, are John L. Palmer and Thomas R. Saving.
The 2004 Trustees Report is posted at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/TR04/.
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