The federal government devotes a substantial and growing share of its budget to benefits for the nation's retirees through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs. According to CBO’s projections, federal spending on the “big three” benefit programs will grow from less than half of all federal spending in 2012 to three-fifths in 2023. CBO projects federal spending for those programs under current law for the next decade and for the longer term, and it analyzes a wide range of proposals to change those programs. (See Health Care for further discussion of CBO’s work on federal health care programs.) Additionally, the exclusion of pension contributions and earnings from taxable income constitutes one of the largest preferences in the federal income tax code. Together with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, CBO analyzes the budgetary and economic effects of such tax preferences and potential changes to them.
Nov 2013 - CBO periodically issues a compendium of options—this installment presents more than 100—to inform lawmakers about the budgetary effects of ways to reduce the deficit.
Sep 2013 - Federal debt would grow to 100 percent of GDP by 2038 under current law, CBO projects, and would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy—a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.
Jun 2013 - By 2050, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older, up from 12 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 1950. As a result, expenditures on long-term services and supports for the elderly will rise substantially in the coming decades.
Oct 2012 - Over the next 20 years, the population will age and spending on Social Security will increase from about 5 percent of GDP to about 6 percent.
Jul 2012 - The Disability Insurance program provided benefits to 8.3 million disabled workers in 2011. By 2022, CBO projects, the program will provide benefits to over 10 million disabled workers and total spending on benefits to those workers will exceed $190 billion.
Jan 2012 - This issue brief reviews how ages of eligibility affect beneficiaries under current law and how delaying eligibility would affect beneficiaries, the federal budget, and the economy.
Aug 2011 - CBO's first infographic summarizes some of the agency's most recent projections for Social Security and provides background information on the program.
May 2011 - CBO discusses two approaches to calculating the present value of a plans liabilities.
Jul 2010 - Annual spending on Social Security payments will regularly exceed the program's tax revenues starting in 2016, if current laws remain in place. This study examines 30 options for policymakers in providing long-term financial stability for Social Security.
- data or technical informationDecember 6, 2013
Fiscal Policy Effects in a Heterogeneous-Agent Overlapping-Generations Economy With an Aging Population: Working Paper 2013-07working paperDecember 6, 2013
- presentationDecember 3, 2013
- cost estimateNovember 18, 2013
- reportNovember 13, 2013
- reportNovember 7, 2013
- reportSeptember 26, 2013
- presentationSeptember 23, 2013
Use this menu to filter CBO's publications by topic. From January 2011 forward, all the agency's products are categorized by topic. Cost estimates released prior to the 112th Congress are not categorized by topic.