Off-Budget / Off-Budget Entities / On-Budget Entities
David Certner: Social Security as an off-budget program
Off-budget: Those budgetary accounts (either federal or trust funds) designated by law as excluded from budget totals. As of 2005, the revenues and outlays of the two Social Security trust funds (the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund) and the transactions of the Postal Service are the only off-budget accounts. The budget documents routinely report the on-budget and off-budget amounts separately and then add them together to arrive at the consolidated government totals.
On-budget entities are federal agencies and programs that are fully reflected in the totals of the president’s budget and the congressional budget resolution. Off-budget entities, on the other hand, specifically are excluded by law from these totals.
The budget reports two deficit or surplus amounts—one excluding the Social Security trust funds and the Postal Service Fund and the other including these entities. Further, off-budget entities are excluded from the budget enforcement procedures applicable to federal programs generally. Congress has established special procedures for the consideration of measures affecting Social Security revenues and spending.
Also see: Budget Deficit / Budget Surplus; Date Shifting / Fiscal Transparency / Fiscal Illusion; Nonbudgetary; On-Budget; Outlay; President’s Budget; Trust Fund Expenditure Account under Trust Fund Accounts under Account in the President’s Budget; Unified Budget; § 7.02 Federal Budgeting Concepts and Terminology, § 7.50 Congressional Budget Process, in Congressional Deskbook.
How do Government and Not For Profit Compare to For Profit Entities | Government Accounting | CPA
- Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?
- “‘Real’ Federal Deficit Four Times Official Number,” by Jason Sorens, Pileus, June 5, 2012
- “Off-Budget Status of Federal Entities: Background and Current Proposals,” CRS Report RS20350 (8-page PDF)
- “Introduction to the Federal Budget Process,” CRS Report 98-721 (38-page PDF)
- “Social Security and the Federal Budget: What Does Social Security’s Being ‘Off Budget’ Mean?” CRS Report 98-422 (22-page PDF)
- “Social Security and Medicare ‘Lock Boxes’,” CRS Report RS20165 (8-page PDF)
- “Pension Issues Cloud Postal Reform Debate,” CRS Report RL32346 (17-page PDF)
- “Postal Reform,” CRS Report IB10104 (18-page PDF)
- “The U.S. Postal Service’s Financial Condition: Overview and Issues for Congress,” CRS Report R41024 (33-page PDF)
- What does it mean for a government program to be “off-budget”? – Tax Policy Center
- Federal Budget Treatment of the Postal Service – USPS OIG, Report ESS-WP-09-001, August 27, 2009
- “The Social Security Trust Funds and the Federal Budget,” Larry DeWitt, SSA Historian’s Office, March 4, 2005
- “What is the difference between the debt and the deficit?” – Treasury Direct
- Federal Trust Fund Accounting Guide – US Treasury, June 2001
- “Budget Reconciliation Measures Enacted Into Law Since 1980,” CRS Report R40480 (18-page PDF)
- “Congressional Budget Resolutions: Historical Information,” CRS Report RL30297 (47-page PDF)
- “Rules and Practices Governing Consideration of Revenue Legislation in the House and Senate,” CRS Report R41408 (26-page PDF)
- The Economic Effects of Financing a Large and Permanent Increase in Government Spending, Congressional Budget Office, CBO Working Paper 57201, March 2021 (42-page PDF)
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