Social Security surplus expected to vanish much sooner than expected

The U.S. recession may soon erase the Social Security surplus Congress has used each year to reduce the deficit. The surplus was supposed to be around for at least another ten years, but with so many people being laid off the Social Security Administration's projected tax collections now fall way below earlier estimates.The layoffs are also prompting more people near retirement to take benefits early, further depleting the SSA's coffers.

The Social Security Trustees originally predicted an $80 billion surplus this year, but that number is expected to drop to $16 billion this year and just $3 billion next year, according to a report in The Washington Post. For years, Congress has used the Social Security surplus as its personal piggy bank, overspending in each budget cycle and covering it up with the Social Security surplus funds.