Social Security has 16 years left before benefit cuts begin, report says

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This year, the program's cost will outstrip total income by $2 billion and non-interest income by $85 billion, the report said.

The trustees forecast that 100% of benefits will be covered through 2034, after which the trust funds for Social Security, which also cover old age and disability insurance programs, will only be able to cover about 79% of benefits.

Medicare's hospital insurance fund, meanwhile, will become insolvent by 2026, or three years sooner than projected last year.

Tuesday's report from program trustees says Medicare's giant trust fund for inpatient care won't be able to cover projected medical bills starting in 2026, three years earlier than previously expected. Medicare is also expected to spend more than projected previous year, the report said.

President Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to leave Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched, putting him on a crash course with Republicans on Capitol Hill who have said they wanted to tackle the programs' problems by limiting future benefit increases.

The twin warnings come as Congress has cut revenue and boosted spending - moves that, analysts say, will leave the government's finances struggling for years to come.

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Nancy Berryhill, the acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration, acknowledged that while the projected depletion date of the combined Social Security Trust Funds has not changed, "The fact remains that Congress can keep Social Security strong by taking action to ensure the future of the program". Some 45 million retirees and six million dependents receive Social Security benefits.

"Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce Social Security's long-term financing shortfall", the report noted.

"Lackluster economic growth in previous years, coupled with an aging population, has contributed to the projected shortages for both Social Security and Medicare", Mr. Mnuchin said in a statement following the release of the trustees' report.

"The programs remain secure", he said, adding: "The administration's economic agenda - tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements - will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path".

The report says the other trust fund, which covers Medicare Parts B and D, is expected to be financed through the next 10 years and beyond.

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