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.
Jul 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.
Apr 2014 - The deficit will decrease to $492 billion in 2014, CBO projects. But under current law, deficits will begin rising again in 2016—and by 2024, debt will reach 78 percent of GDP, twice the average of the past 40 years.
Feb 2014 - Under current law, deficits will drop through 2015 but rise thereafter, boosting the already high federal debt, CBO projects. Economic growth will be solid in the near term, but unemployment will not drop below 6.0 percent until 2017.
Dec 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.
Nov 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.
Jun 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.
Jul 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 total spending on benefits to those workers will exceed $190 billion.
Aug 2011 - CBO's first infographic summarizes some of the agency's most recent projections for Social Security and provides background information on the program.
Jul 2010 - Annual spending on Social Security payments will regularly exceed the program's tax revenues starting in 2016, if current laws remain in place. This study examines 30 options for policymakers in providing long-term financial stability for Social Security.
- Cost EstimateSeptember 11, 2014
S. 2511, a bill to amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to clarify the definition of substantial cessation of operationsCost EstimateSeptember 9, 2014
- Blog PostJuly 29, 2014
- Data or Technical InformationJuly 25, 2014
What Are the Causes of Projected Growth in Spending for Social Security and Major Health Care Programs?Blog PostJuly 18, 2014
- GraphicJuly 16, 2014
- ReportJuly 16, 2014
- ReportJuly 15, 2014
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