Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2020 Update in Perspective

IB#20-7

The brief’s key findings are:

  • The 2020 Trustees Report, which was prepared before the pandemic, shows:
    • Social Security’s 75-year deficit increased from 2.78 percent to 3.21 percent of payroll.
    • Trust fund depletion remains at 2035, after which payroll taxes still cover about three quarters of promised benefits.
  • This shortfall is manageable, and the pandemic is unlikely to fundamentally alter the long-term financial status of the program.
  • Today’s crisis has also underscored the importance of Social Security, which continues to provide a steady source of income to millions of Americans.
  • Therefore, once the crisis subsides, stabilizing Social Security’s long-term finances should be a high priority to ensure that Americans have full confidence in its future.