The committee noted in announcing the hearing the 2017 Trustees Report, which found that Social Security's combined trust funds will be exhausted in 2034, at which point beneficiaries would face a 23% across-the-board benefit cut unless Congress acts.
At this rate, the combined asset reserves of Social Security's twin retirement and disability trust funds would become depleted by 2034, the same as projected past year, with 79% of the benefits payable at that time, according to the report.
The trustees also annually weigh in on the solvency of Social Security, whose total cost is projected to exceed total income this year for the first time since 1982. But as Robert Pear of The New York Times notes, based on the new trustees' reports, "so far that does not appeared to have happened".
"However, certain long-term issues persist", the statement added. The U.S.is now closer to the insolvency of the Social Security than to the attacks of September 11.
The trustees also expect Medicare spending "will increase in future years at a faster pace than either aggregate workers' earnings or the economy overall".
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The Cabinet secretaries for Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor usually participate in the annual release of the report on Social Security and Medicare, along with the Social Security commissioner, and take questions from reporters. Options include raising the maximum income cutoff for imposing Social Security taxes, now $127,200.
The Congressional Budget Office said in April that federal deficits and debt would soar in the coming decade, after passage of the tax overhaul and legislation to increase military and domestic spending. The way to do that is to legislate modest reforms to the entitlement programs along with higher taxes (including Social Security payroll taxes) for those most able to afford them. "Now is the time Congress should prepare for the future, not by threatening workers' benefits, but by expanding Social Security". And the number of people on Social Security is expected to climb to 91 million, from 62 million, in the same period.
The aging population and rising health care costs cause Parts B and D projected costs to grow steadily from 2.1% of GDP in 2017 to approximately 3.6% of GDP in 2037.
Both the cost-of-living increase and the Medicare outpatient premium are not officially determined until later in the year, and the initial projections can change.