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Board Releases 2019 Final Report of Technical Panel on Assumptions and Methods

September 24, 2019

Every four years the Social Security Advisory Board has appointed an independent, expert panel to review the assumptions and methods used to develop the annual report of the Social Security Trustees on the financial status of the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance trust funds. This 2019 Technical Panel on Assumptions and Methods is the sixth panel the board has commissioned since 1999. Please see the 2019 Technical Panel Information Page for more information.

The following are the highlights of the 2019 report:

  • Update the projection model with a modern programming architecture.
  • Expand the modeling toolkit, including expanded use of microsimulation, dynamic effects, new statistical methods.
  • Communicate key messages in the Trustees Report more clearly using advice from communications, design and data visualization experts.
  • Demographic assumptions: assume lower fertility consistent with cohort fertility patterns, faster mortality improvement consistent with long-run average, and net immigration as a share of the population.
  • Economic assumptions: assume lower labor force participation and unemployment, slower real wage growth, lower inflation and real interest rates, and a greater share of earnings above the taxable maximum.
  • Disability incidence: assume lower disability incidence consistent with lower long-term unemployment rate. Temporary factors likely outweigh permanent shifts