For years the Social Security Administration has promoted the illusion that there are approximately $2.5 trillion sitting in the trust fund which is available to pay 100 percent of monthly benefits through at least 2037. It's an illusion because what they want people to see is not what's there.
By law, the U.S. Treasury must invest any payroll contributions not needed to pay benefits in interest-bearing U.S. government bonds. These bonds are what make up the Social Security trust fund.
When the U.S. Treasury issues a bond, it is taking on debt; however, the Social Security Administration touts these bonds as an asset. This is where the illusion becomes apparent $2.5 trillion of Treasury debt when added to $2.5 trillion of trust fund assets equals zero.