Retirement

The federal government devotes a substantial and growing share of its budget to benefits for the nation's retirees through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs. Federal spending on the "big three" benefit programs totaled nearly half of all federal spending in 2013. CBO projects federal spending for those programs under current law for the next decade and for the longer term, and it analyzes a wide range of proposals to change those programs. (See Health Care for further discussion of CBO’s work on federal health care programs.) Additionally, the exclusion of pension contributions and earnings from taxable income constitutes one of the largest preferences in the federal income tax code. Together with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, CBO analyzes the budgetary and economic effects of such tax preferences and potential changes to them.

  • Report August 27, 2014

    The deficit this year will be $506 billion, CBO estimates, about $170 billion lower than the deficit in 2013. After a weak first half of this year, CBO expects economic growth to pick up and the unemployment rate to continue to fall.

  • Report July 15, 2014

    If current laws remained generally unchanged, federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of GDP by 2039 and would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy—a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely.

  • Report December 17, 2013

    Spending on the Social Security program will exceed its dedicated tax revenues, on average, by about 12 percent over the next decade, CBO projects. The gap will grow larger in the 2020s and will exceed 30 percent of revenues by 2030.

  • Report November 13, 2013

    CBO periodically issues a compendium of options—this installment presents more than 100—to inform lawmakers about the budgetary effects of ways to reduce the deficit.

  • Report June 26, 2013

    By 2050, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older, up from 12 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 1950. As a result, expenditures on long-term services and supports for the elderly will rise substantially in the coming decades.

  • Report July 16, 2012

    The Disability Insurance program provided benefits to 8.3 million disabled workers in 2011. By 2022, CBO projects, the program will provide benefits to over 10 million disabled workers and spending on benefits will exceed $190 billion.

  • Graphic August 5, 2011

    CBO's first infographic summarizes some of the agency's most recent projections for Social Security and provides background information on the program.

  • Report July 1, 2010

    CBO anticipates that starting in 2016, if current laws remain in place, the program's annual spending will regularly exceed its tax revenues.