It’s time, again, for the annual Social Security Trustees’ Report. The headline figures, as always, are the change in the dates at which the various trust funds are projected to be depleted. Combining OASI (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance) and DI (Disability Insurance) together, the depletion date has been extended one year further out, from 2034 to 2035. Taking the two programs separately, the old-age fund’s depletion date remains unchanged at 2034, a mere 15 years from now, but the disability fund’s depletion date was extended from 2032 to 2052. When each of these funds are depleted, they will be able to pay out 77% and 91% of benefits, respectively, out of incoming tax revenues.
Why such a dramatic improvement in the status of the disability fund? The Trustees’ summary explains:
“The change in the reserve depletion year for DI is largely due to continuing favorable experience for DI applications and benefit awards. Disability applications have been declining steadily since 2010, and the total number of disabled-worker beneficiaries in current payment status has been falling since 2014. Relative to last year’s Trustees Report, disability incidence rates are lower in 2018. They also are assumed to rise more gradually from the current levels to reach ultimate levels at the end of 10 years that are slightly lower.”
What does this mean? In part, the prosperous economy has meant that more people with disabilities are finding employment and are able to stop claiming Social Security disability benefits, or never need to begin doing so in the first place. This means that actual disability recipients are fewer in number than was forecast, and that they have changed the assumptions going forward as a result. That’s great news — if that continues to be true in the long-term.
If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact use for a free evaluation of your claim!
View the full Trustee Report here: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TR/2019/
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disablity Services, LLC®