The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193) directs the Social Security Administration (SSA) to report annually to the President and to the Congress on the status of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Projections of program recipients and costs through at least 25 years are a required element of these reports. This report is the sixteenth of such reports.
• The SSI program is a nationwide Federal assistance program administered by SSA that guarantees a minimum level of income for needy aged, blind, or disabled individuals. It acts as a safety net for individuals who have limited resources and little or no Social Security or other income.
• Federal expenditures for cash payments under the SSI program during calendar year 2011 increased 2.7 percent to $49.0 billion, while the funds made available to administer the SSI program in fiscal year 2011 increased 7.9 percent to $4.0 billion. In 2010 the corresponding program and administrative expenditures were $47.8 billion and $3.7 billion, respectively.
• By 2036, the end of the 25-year projection period, we estimate that the Federal SSI recipient population will reach 10.1 million. The projected growth in the SSI program over the 25-year period is largely due to the overall growth in the U.S. population, although we expect the recent economic slowdown to continue to generate some additional growth over the next few years beyond what we might expect from historical trends. We project that the percentage of the population receiving SSI will vary somewhat by age group, with the percentage for those age 65 or older declining throughout the projection period and the percentage for those under 65 continuing to increase over the next 3 years, but declining thereafter to a level slightly higher than the current percentage.
• As a percentage of the total U.S. population, the number of Federal SSI recipients increased slightly from 2.42 percent in 2010 to 2.47 percent in 2011. We project this percentage to increase gradually to 2.62 percent of the population by 2036 due largely to the changing age distribution of the population.
• We estimate that Federal expenditures for SSI payments in calendar year 2012 will increase by $3.0 billion to $52.0 billion, an increase of 6.1 percent from 2011 levels.
• In constant 2012 dollars, we project that Federal expenditures for SSI payments will increase to $64.6 billion in 2036, a real increase of 1.0 percent per year.
• Federal SSI expenditures expressed as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) were 0.32 in 2011. We project that expenditures as a percentage of GDP will increase to 0.33 percent of GDP in 2012, remain essentially level through 2014, and decline thereafter to 0.25 percent of GDP by 2036.