Social Security Ran $47.8B Deficit in FY 2012; Disabled Workers Hit New Record in December: 8,827,795

December 26, 2012 - 12:02 PM

 

Tim Geithner

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Social Security program ran a $47.8 billion deficit in fiscal 2012 as the program brought in $725.429 billion in cash and paid $773.247 for benefits and overhead expenses, according to official data published by Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration also released new data revealing that the number of workers collecting disability benefits hit a record 8,827,795 in December--up from 8,805,353 in November.

The overall number of Social Security program beneficiaries—including retired workers, dependent family members and survivors and disabled workers and their dependent family members—also hit a record in December, climbing from 56,658,978 in November to 56,758,185 in December.

In 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an average of 112.556 million full-time workers in the United States, of whom 17.806 million worked full-time for local, state or federal government. That left an average of only 94.750 million full-time private sector workers in the country.

That means that for every 1.67 Americans who worked full-time in the private sector in 2011, there is now 1 person collecting benefits from the Social Security administration.

Despite its fiscal 2012 “net cash flow” deficit, as SSA describes it, the agency was able to book an on-paper “increase” of $64.580 billion in the Social Security Trust Funds. That, SSA says, is because the U.S. Treasury “paid” the trust funds $112.398 in “interest” in fiscal 2012 on the historial surpluses in Social Security taxes that the Treasury siphoned off to cover other spending by the federal government.

As of the end of calendar year 2011, according to SSA, the Social Security Trust Fund equaled approximately $2.678 trillion.

The last time the Social Security program ran a “net cash flow” surplus was in fiscal 2009. In that year, Social Security’s revenues exceeded its benefit and overhead payments by $19.358 billion. In fiscal 2010, Social Security ran a $36.8 billion deficit; and, in fiscal 2011, it ran a $47.975 deficit.

There are two Social Security Trust Funds: the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The OASI Trust Fund covers benefits to retired workers and their families and deceased workers families. The DI Trust fund covers benefits to disabled workers and their families. The trust funds are required by law to hand over all surplus revenues to the Treasury and the Treasury then provides “special issue” non-marketable bonds—essentially electronic IOUs—to the trust funds in return for the cash. These "IOUs" become part of the national debt. When the Treasury pays "interest" that increases the value of the Social Security Trust Funds it does so by increasing the number of IOUs it owes the trust funds.

When the Social Security program runs a net cash flow deficit, as it has in the last three fiscal years, the Treasury needs to borrow cash from the “public” to keep the program funded. As of Dec. 21, the federal government’s debt was $16.336 trillion.