Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2013 Update in Perspective

Alicia H. Munnell

IB#13-8

The brief’s key findings are:

  • The 2013 Trustees Report shows virtually no change from last year:
    • Social Security’s deficit still about 2.7 percent of payroll.
    • Deficit as a percent of GDP still less than 1 percent.
    • Trust fund exhaustion still 2033, after which payroll taxes still cover about three quarters of promised benefits.
  • While the shortfall is manageable, it should be eliminated soon to:
    • Restore confidence in the program.
    • Avoid larger tax/benefit changes that would result from delay.
    • More fairly distribute the burden across generations.
  • And the disability insurance program needs immediate attention, as its trust fund is expected to be exhausted in 2016.