People in San Diego who receive Social Security Disability benefits are likely aware that the Social Security Administration estimates that its trust funds will run out in 2033 — a mere 18 years from today. If this happens, the SSA says, it will only be able to provide three-quarters worth of benefits, unless Congress acts to replenish the trust fund reserves.
That is the SSA’s projections. Academics from Harvard and Dartmouth believe that the agency’s predictions, grim as they are, are actually overly optimistic.
A study from those universities contend that errors in the SSA’s projections going back to 2000 mean that the SSD program’s trust fund reserves will run out of money even sooner, according to NBC News.
Researchers looked at the SSA’s annual trustees’ reports going back to 1978. They found forecast errors, but they were roughly unbiased and random, so they did not paint an overly positive or negative picture of the future.
Not, that is, until 2000. After that, “forecast errors became increasingly biased, and in the same direction,” the study says. They all overestimated how much the SSD program would have in assets, and the continued solvency of the trust funds.
Due to this series of biased reports, the researchers believe the SSA’s projections of solvency until 2033 is not reliable.
This is likely worrisome to anyone currently relying on SSD benefits, or those who know someone who does. Much of the issue is political, and it should not dissuade those with a legitimate disability claim from filing for benefits, or appealing a denied claim.