As the U.S. economy struggles to regain its footing, projections are getting worse for America's Social Security crisis.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the entitlement program will run a deficit this year of $45 billion - something most analysts didn't expect to happen until 2016. Social Security trust funds now are expected to run out of money around 2037.
With the program now running deficits, the government will have to find other means pay for pay for retirement, disability and survivor benefits.
"It means that Social Security is increasingly adding to our long-term fiscal problem, and it's happening now," said Eugene Steuerle, a former Treasury official who is now a fellow at the Urban Institute think tank.
Experts say the figures should serve as a wake-up call to policy makers that something needs to be done immediately to remedy the situation.
"So long as Social Security was running surpluses, policymakers could put off the need to fix the program," said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy commissioner at the Social Security Administration who is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
"Now that the system is running deficits, it simply becomes clear that we need to act on Social Security reform," he added.