The Social Security Board of Trustees recently reported some positive news: the financial health of the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund has improved significantly and can now pay full benefits until 2065. This estimate is 13 years more than what was indicated in last year’s report and 33 years longerthan the 2018 report. After 2065, the trust fund is predicted to pay 92 percent of benefits.
Additionally, as the large cohort of baby boomers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) get older, theconversion rate (people who leave SSDI for retirement or survivors’ benefits) and termination rate (people who die or,more rarely, medically improve) will go up as well. This saves the trust fund money and allows it to last longer. The report predicts that the number of people receiving SSDI will continue to decrease until 2022
The steady increase in solvency for the DI Trust Fund is primarily due to lower-than-expected recent levels of expenditures: applications have been steadily declining since 2010 and the number of SSDI beneficiaries in current payment status has been falling since 2014. For the past several years, the Trustees Report has over-estimated the disability application and award rates, leading to each year’s report projecting a longer period of solvency than the prior year’s report.