Off-Budget / Off-Budget Entities / On-Budget Entities (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

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.


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