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Social Security, Medicare trust funds hit hard by recession

May 12, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The financial health of Social Security and Medicare, the government's two biggest benefit programs, worsened in the past year because of the severe recession.

Trustees of the two programs said Tuesday that Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, one year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner.

The trustees said Medicare was in even worse shape. They said that the trust fund for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year and will be insolvent by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year's report.

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