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 June 16, 2015

    If current laws remained generally unchanged, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP by 2040 and continue on an upward path relative to the size of the economy—a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.

  • Report December 18, 2014

    This report presents additional information about the long-term projections CBO made in July 2014 for Social Security’s revenues, outlays, and the distribution of benefits and taxes.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.