Outlays for Social Security totaled a little under $800 billion in fiscal year 2012, equal to about 5 percent of gross domestic product and one-fifth of federal spending. Of the 56 million people who currently receive Social Security benefits, about 70 percent are retired workers or their spouses and children, and another 11 percent are survivors of deceased workers; all of those beneficiaries receive payments through the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) component of Social Security. The other 19 percent of beneficiaries are disabled workers or their spouses and children; they receive Social Security's Disability Insurance (DI) benefits.
Social Security's Dedicated Tax Revenues are Falling Short of its Spending
In calendar year 2010, for the first time since the enactment of the Social Security Amendments of 1983, spending for the program exceeded its dedicated tax revenues. In 2011, spending exceeded dedicated tax revenues by 4 percent, and that gap is growing. As shown in the publication's first group of exhibits—Exhibits 1 through 8—CBO projects that:
- Over the next decade, spending will exceed dedicated tax revenues, on average, by about 10 percent. With more members of the baby-boom generation entering retirement, spending will increase relative to the size of the economy, whereas tax revenues will remain a roughly constant share of the economy. As a result, the gap between the program's spending and tax revenues will grow larger in the 2020s and will exceed 20 percent of tax revenues by 2030.