Social Security won’t be able to pay full benefits in 2034 due to COVID recession

The U.S. Treasury Department said Tuesday that Social Security trust funds won’t be able to pay full benefits by 2034, one year earlier than previously projected, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its annual summary of Social Security’s reserves, the program’s trustees said the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and the Disability Fund, designed to provide a source of income to former workers who have retired or can’t work due to a disability, have enough combined funds to pay scheduled benefits until 2034. “At that time, the combined funds’ reserves will become depleted and continuing tax income will be sufficient to pay 78% of scheduled benefits,” the report stated.

The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance will be able to pay scheduled benefits until 2033, running out one year sooner than reported last year and the Disability Insurance fund will have adequate funds to make payments through 2057, depleting eight years faster than previously anticipated. The report specifically cited the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for the accelerated depletion of funds. As a result of the pandemic, the trustees projected increased rates of mortality through 2023, as well as reductions in immigration and childbearing in 2021-22 from the levels projected in 2020.