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Social Security Finances: Findings of the 2009 Trustees Report

By: Joni Lavery
Published: May 2009
Social Security Brief No. 30 ~ May 2009

Summary: In January 2009, 51.1 million people, or about one in every six U.S. residents, received Social Security benefits. The benefits are financed by dedicated taxes on earnings paid by workers and employers, by income taxes that upper income beneficiaries pay on part of their Social Security benefits, and by interest earned on accumulated trust fund reserves. According to the 2009 Trustees report, the Social Security trust funds will have an annual surplus of $137 billion in 2009. Annual surpluses are projected to continue for the next 14 years and reserves are projected to grow to $4,332 billion by the end of 2023. Beginning in 2016, tax revenues flowing into the trust funds will be less than total expenditures. In 2037, the reserves are projected to be depleted. At that time, tax income coming into the trust funds will cover about 76 percent of benefits due, according to the 2009 report of the Social Security Trustees.