If that doesn't sound dire enough, in their annual report, the Social Security trustees said that Medicare's hospital insurance fund will be depleted in 2026, reserves for the fund that pays disability benefits would be emptied in 2032, and all Social Security reserves would be exhausted by 2034.
Nancy Berryhill, the acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, acknowledged that while the projected depletion date of the combined Social Security Trust Funds has not changed, "The fact remains that Congress can keep Social Security strong by taking action to ensure the future of the program". The program provides health insurance to some 60 million people, most of whom are over 65 years old.
For the first time since 1982, Social Security has to dip into the trust fund to pay for the program this year.
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Medicare's Board of Trustees blamed the earlier depletion forecast on expectations of lower payroll taxes and less revenue from taxing Social Security benefits, both the result of the tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump previous year, according to a senior administration official.
But that may be the previous year of growth for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, Medicare Part B, which helps seniors pay for doctor's bills and outpatient expenses, is funded by a combination of premium payments and money from general federal revenue. Their costs, however, are scheduledto grow from 2.1% of GDP in 2017 to 3.6% in 2037.
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President Donald Trump says he won't cut Social Security or Medicare, but hasn't offered a rescue plan for the long run. During the same period, about 62 million people received benefits, including retired and disabled workers, their eligible family members and survivors of deceased workers.
"Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce Social Security's long-term financing shortfall", the report noted. The report by the trustees stressed that they've said before that the fund in trouble is not adequately financed over the next 10 years. "The Administration's economic agenda - tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements - will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement Tuesday. The program's cost will rise more rapidly through 2039 as the baby-boom generation retires faster than the number of covered workers increases, according to the report.
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