Most Americans believe that the Social Security trust fund contains a pot of money that is sitting somewhere earning interest to pay their benefits when they retire. The problem is that by law 100% of these “assets” are invested in Treasury securities. Therefore, the trust fund does not have any actual resources with which to pay Social Security benefits. It’s as if you wrote an IOU to yourself; no matter how large the IOU is it doesn’t increase your net worth.
What really matters is how much Social Security and Medicare benefits have been promised and how much total revenue the government will need to pay them.
The total unfunded indebtedness of Social Security and Medicare comes to $106.4 trillion–about $1,000,000 for every US household. (Source.)
Of course, either benefits will be cut or massive tax increases will be required. Which will it be? The elderly vote in the highest percentage of any age group, so their political influence is greater than their numbers.