Social Security

Greenstein Statement on the 2014 Social Security Trustees’ Report

"Social Security can pay full benefits for close to two decades, the trustees’ report shows, but will then face a significant, though manageable, funding shortfall that Congress and the President should address in the near future.

"Specifically, the trustees estimate that Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2033, at which point its combined trust funds will be exhausted. After 2033, even if legislators failed to act, Social Security would pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits, relying on Social Security taxes as they are collected. The exhaustion date is unchanged from last year’s report, and is within the range that the trustees have been projecting for some time. In the late 1990s, the trustees projected the exhaustion date as early as 2029; at one point in the last decade, they projected an exhaustion date as late as 2042."


Chart Book: Social Security Disability Insurance

Disability Insurance (DI) is an integral part of Social Security. It provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves on account of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the DI program.

The following charts provide important background information about Social Security Disability Insurance.

Part I: Why Is Social Security Disability Insurance Important?
Part II: Why Have the DI Rolls Grown?
Part III: Who Receives DI?
Part IV: What Financing Issues Does DI Face?



Congress Needs to Boost Disability Insurance Share of Payroll Tax by 2016

Policymakers need to replenish the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund by late 2016, but that necessity comes as no surprise and poses no crisis. Although the DI trust fund is legally separate from the much larger Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund, both are integral parts of Social Security. Traditionally, lawmakers have divided the total payroll tax between OASI and DI according to the programs’ respective needs.

Congress has reallocated payroll tax revenues many times in the past — and in both directions. This is a traditional and historically noncontroversial step.



Social Security provides monthly benefits to more than 50 million retired workers and workers with disabilities, their dependents, and their survivors.  Though Social Security is best known as a retirement program, one-fifth of the program's beneficiaries are non-elderly adults (under age 62) or children who receive survivors' benefits or disability insurance benefits.

Policy Basics:
- Top Ten Facts on Social Security

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  1. Robert Greenstein

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The Center examines the effects of Social Security on poverty (including poverty among children) and on particular demographic groups. We also analyze Social Security reform proposals to determine their likely impact on the program’s long-term solvency and its effectiveness in reducing poverty and hardship.

By the Numbers

Social Security Dramatically Cuts Poverty Among Seniors
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