New GAO Report Shows Trust Funds on Unsustainable Course

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the non-partisan government watchdog agency, today released a report requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) warning that some major federal trust fund programs – including Social Security and Medicare – are on an unsustainable course.  While total federal trust fund balances increased between fiscal years 2014 and 2018, the projected total balance is expected to begin decreasing in fiscal year 2022, driven by decreases in the Social Security and Medicare Hospital Insurance trust funds.  The federal government is projected to borrow more from the public as the total costs of trust fund programs continues to exceed their dedicated revenues.

“GAO’s new report is another warning sign that Social Security, Medicare, and other trust fund programs on which many Americans rely are in danger of going broke,” said Chairman Enzi. “Congress will need to work in a bipartisan manner to safeguard these programs to ensure they are able to provide for those who need them now and in the future.”

“The nation is $23 trillion in debt and now running trillion dollar deficits,” said Senator Braun. “Congress needs to come together and make tough decisions to preserve these trust fund programs that so many Americans depend on for their way of life - for today and for generations to come.”

In its report, GAO noted projected depletion milestones for selected major trust funds.  Those milestones include the following:

  • 2022 – Highway Trust Fund depleted: Income insufficient to meet projected obligations
  • 2025 – Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation multiemployer trust fund depleted: Income insufficient to pay full benefits in insolvent plans
  • 2026 – Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund depleted: Income sufficient to pay 89 percent of scheduled benefits
  • 2034 – Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund depleted: Income sufficient to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits
  • 2052 – Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund depleted: Income sufficient to pay 91 percent of scheduled benefits

Read the report here.

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