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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

    CBO’s 2015 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information

    December 16, 2015

    Under current law, CBO projects, Social Security’s trust funds, considered together, will be exhausted in 2029. In that case, benefits in 2030 would need to be reduced by 29 percent from the scheduled amounts.

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    Social Security Policy Options, 2015

    December 15, 2015

    CBO analyzes 36 policy options commonly proposed by policymakers and analysts. Most of them would improve Social Security’s long-term finances, but only a few would significantly postpone the combined trust funds’ exhaustion date.

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    The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook

    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.

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    Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2015 to 2024

    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.

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    Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People

    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.

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    Policy Options for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program

    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.