July 1, 2013

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY Davenport, Iowa Office

By Linda Clayton-Powell
Social Security District Manager
Davenport, Iowa

Social Security Board of Trustees: No Change in Projected Year of Trust Fund Reserve Depletion

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined assets of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2033, unchanged from last year, with 77 percent of benefits still payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2016, also unchanged from last year’s estimate, with 80 percent of benefits still payable.
In the 2013 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

• The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2020.
• Beginning with 2021, the cost of the program is projected to exceed income.
• The projected point at which the combined trust fund reserves will become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, comes in 2033 – the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.
• The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.72 percent of taxable payroll — 0.05 percentage point larger than in last year’s report.

“The Social Security Trust Funds’ projected depletion dates have not changed, and three-fourths of benefits would still be payable after depletion. But, the fact remains that Congress needs to act to ensure the long-term solvency of this vital program,” said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “The projected year for Disability Insurance Trust Fund depletion remains 2016, and legislative action is needed as soon as possible to address this financial imbalance.”

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

• Income including interest to the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $840 billion in 2012. ($590 billion in net contributions, $27 billion from taxation of benefits, $109 billion in interest, and $114 billion in reimbursements from the General Fund of the Treasury—almost exclusively resulting from the 2012 payroll tax legislation)
• Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $786 billion in 2012.
• Non-interest income fell below program costs in 2010 for the first time since 1983. Program costs are projected to exceed non-interest income throughout the remainder of the 75-year period.
• The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $54 billion in 2012 to a total of $2.73 trillion.
• During 2012, an estimated 161 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
• Social Security paid benefits of $775 billion in calendar year 2012. There were about 57 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
• The cost of $6.3 billion to administer the program in 2012 was a very low 0.8 percent of total expenditures.
• The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 4.1 percent in 2012.

The Board of Trustees is comprised of six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Seth D. Harris, Acting Secretary of Labor. The two public trustees are Charles P. Blahous, III and Robert D. Reischauer.

The 2013 Trustees Report will be posted at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2013/.


Have you been thinking about applying for Social Security disability benefits, but you are unable to visit a Social Security office to complete the interview? Or, perhaps your disabling condition makes it difficult to visit a Social Security office. We have good news: you can complete your application for Social Security disability benefits from the convenience of your home. Get started at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

The application process involves determining 1) whether you have sufficient work to be eligible for Social Security 2) the severity of your medical condition 3) your ability to work. Because we carefully review so many cases — more than three million each year — it can take us three to five months to determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits.

The amount of time it takes to make a decision on your application can vary depending on a number of factors, such as:

• the nature of your disability
• how quickly we obtain medical evidence from you, your doctors, hospitals, or other medical sources
• whether we need to send you for a medical examination to obtain evidence to support your claim.

We have several important initiatives to speed up the process. For example, our Compassionate Allowances initiative allows us to fast-track certain cases of individuals with very severe disabilities. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances. Another way we speed up decisions is with our Quick Disability Determinations initiative, which uses technology to identify applicants who have the most severe disabilities and allows us to expedite our decisions on those cases. Read more at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityresearch/qdd.htm. There are things you can do to help speed up the decision process too. The more information you provide up front, the less time it will take us to obtain the evidence we need — and the faster we can make a decision on your application. The types of information we need include:

• medical records or documentation you have; we can make copies of your records and return your originals
• the names, addresses, and phone numbers for any doctors, hospitals, medical facilities, treatment centers, or providers that may have information related to your disabling condition
• the names, addresses, and phone numbers for recent employers and the dates you worked for each employer
• your federal tax return for the past year.

If getting to an office is troublesome, don’t worry. You can apply online for Social Security disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.