Social Security Gains More Life

Monday, March 19th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP)-The nation's retirement programs will not run out of cash as early as previously thought, reflecting the vibrant health of the U.S. economy for much of last year, Social Security and Medicare trustees said Monday.

The projected insolvency date of the Medicare trust fund was delayed by four years to 2029, and insolvency of the Social Security fund was put off by one year to 2038, the trustees' annual report said.

It marked the fourth year in a row that the retirement programs gained new years of life, reflecting the sizzling state of the nation's economy during the first half of last year. But the economy began to weaken at the end of last year and is now sputtering.

This year's improvements in the financial outlook of the retirement programs wasn't as dramatic as last year's projections.

Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly and the disabled, had been projected last year to run out of cash in 2025, 10 years later than earlier forecast. That was moved to 2029 in the new estimate.

Social Security, the largest federal benefit program, had been expected to exhaust its trust funds in 2037, a three-year extension, in last year's report. The new date now is 2038.