Pandemic impact on Social Security and Medicare programs not as grave as feared

Despite fears, the 2021 Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ reports show that the pandemic and related recession have only had a moderate impact on these programs. The latest projections are the same or just slightly worse than the previous year’s projections. Instead of being depleted in 2035, Social Security trust funds are now projected to be exhausted by 2034. The projection for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund remains the same (depleted by 2026). Further, even if depleted, Social Security would still be able to pay 75 percent of scheduled benefits via its annual tax income and Medicare would be able to cover about 90 percent. It is also likely that legislative action will be taken to ensure the programs can continue to provide full benefits. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) assures that Social Security and Medicare are not bankrupt or in financial peril.

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