Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Is Social Security’s Insolvency Date 7 or 8 Years Away?

Sep 18, 2015 | Social Security

During a discussion on Social Security, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) said, “Harvard and Dartmouth says that Social Security’s going to go insolvent in seven to eight years.” He is referring to an economic study done earlier this year by Konstantin Kashin and Gary King of Harvard along with Samir Soneji of Dartmouth (there was also a related political science study). Although the study does suggest the Social Security Chief Actuary and Trustees are overly optimistic in their projections, we have not been able to identify a specific alternative projection in these studies.

The Social Security Trustees, on the other hand, project that the combined trust funds will be depleted in 2034, with a 95-percent chance this will occur between 2029 and 2046. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), meanwhile, projects depletion by 2029, with a 95-percent chance that insolvency would occur between 2025 and 2040.* In other words, all official estimates find that the Social Security will be insolvent within 15 to 20 years – and in the worst realistic case, as soon as 10 years. This is quite close and the cost of waiting is high, but it is more than the seven to eight years Christie cites.

Ruling: Largely False