A large and growing share of the federal budget goes to benefits for the nation's retirees, through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs; in addition, the exclusion of pension contributions and earnings from taxable income constitutes one of the largest preferences in the federal income tax system. CBO projects the budgetary impact of those policies under current law and analyzes a wide range of possible changes to those policies. (A separate page on Health Care provides additional information about CBO’s work in that area.)

  • Report November 20, 2014

    CBO periodically issues a compendium of options—this installment presents 79—to inform lawmakers about the budgetary effects of ways to reduce the deficit. The report has both interactive and printable formats.

  • Report July 15, 2014

    If current laws remained generally unchanged, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP by 2039 and would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy—a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.

  • Report December 17, 2013

    Spending on the Social Security program will exceed its dedicated tax revenues, on average, by about 12 percent over the next decade, CBO projects. The gap will grow larger in the 2020s and will exceed 30 percent of revenues by 2030.

  • Report June 26, 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.

  • Report July 16, 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 spending on benefits will exceed $190 billion.

  • Graphic August 5, 2011

    CBO's first infographic summarizes some of the agency's most recent projections for Social Security and provides background information on the program.

  • Report July 1, 2010

    CBO anticipates that starting in 2016, if current laws remain in place, the program's annual spending will regularly exceed its tax revenues.