Trustees Warn Social Security Is Headed Toward Insolvency

The trustees in charge of nation’s Social Security program said a sagging economy has hit the program hard. The program’s trust fund that goes mostly to retirees, said the trustees, will run dry by 2033.

The AP reports “Medicare’s finances have stabilized but the program’s hospital insurance fund is still projected to run out of money in 2024.”

The Wall Street Journal reports on two points that illustrate why the programs are headed toward insolvency:

— “In 2011, 44.8 million received benefits from Social Security’s trust fund for retirees, compared with 43.8 million in 2010.”

— “In 2011, 48.7 million people were covered by Medicare, up from 47.5 million in 2010. That means the program is covering on net an additional 100,000 Americans every month.”

The Hill says that the funds won’t disappear entirely by those dates, instead there won’t be enough funds to pay 100 percent of the benefits.

The Hill adds:

“Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the trustees’ reports show a clear need for Congress to make significant changes to entitlement programs, but he continued to hold firm against Republican proposals to partially privatize Medicare.

“‘We will not support proposals that sow the seeds of their destruction in the name of reform, or that shift the cost of health care to seniors in order to sustain tax cuts for the most fortunate Americans,’ Geithner said.”

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit