The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Linda Benesch, 240-342-4301,

The 2020 Social Security Trustees Report Shows We Can Expand Social Security

 Coronavirus shows we must.


The 2020 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds, released today, shows that expanding Social Security is fully affordable.

This year's report announces that Social Security has an accumulated surplus of approximately $2.9 trillion. It projects that, even if Congress took no action whatsoever, Social Security not only can pay all benefits and associated administrative costs until 2035, it is 91 percent funded for the next quarter century, 85 percent for the next half century, and 82 percent for the next three quarters of a century. At the end of the century, in 2095, Social Security is projected to cost just 5.86 percent of gross domestic product.

Social Security Works has released a fact sheet that puts the report into further context, including the context of the ongoing pandemic. Additionally, we answer frequently asked questions about Social Security and the coronavirus here.

The following is a statement on the report from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works and the Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition:

"The 2020 Trustees Report shows that Social Security will remain strong through the rest of the 21st century and beyond, notwithstanding current circumstances. Though the exact impact of today's pandemic and economic conditions will not be clear until next year's report, Social Security's strength will shine through next year, as well. Social Security is built to withstand today's events.Image

Now more than ever, Social Security is a solution. Our country already faces a retirement income crisis, now made worse by the pandemic. 401(k)s just took a huge hit, but Social Security continues to pay benefits automatically and on time. Social Security is a solution, as well, to economic inequality, also made worse by the pandemic. It is past time to increase Social Security's modest but vital benefits, while requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share.

Democrats have several plans to do just that, including the Social Security 2100 Act, which has 208 co-sponsors in the House and has been the subject of numerous hearings. In the short-term, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have a plan, endorsed by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, to increase Social Security benefits by $200 a month for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

In contrast, Republicans, led by Donald Trump, are trying to use the pandemic as an excuse to slash payroll contributions, Social Security's dedicated funding.

The main takeaway of this year's Trustees Report is that whether Social Security is expanded, as the Democrats favor, or cut, as the Republicans want to do, is a matter of values, not affordability."

Social Security Works' mission is to: Protect and improve the economic security of disadvantaged and at-risk populations; Safeguard the economic security of those dependent, now or in the future, on Social Security; and Maintain Social Security as a vehicle of social justice.