$5.08 Trillion Total Owed In "Intragovernmental Holdings"

The federal government debt - Illustration - CollageHere is a fact that many people aren't aware of - the US government borrows money from programs such as Social Security to fund its operations.

Let's say that Social Security takes in $100 billion over the course of a year and pays out $95 billion - the remaining $5 billion is lent to the government in the form of "interest-bearing securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States." This is a federal law and applies to Social Security, the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund and many other programs.

In total, over $5 trillion is owed by the government to these programs - this debt is called "intragovernmental holdings". These are IOUs that are issued by the government.

A staggering $2.7 trillion ($2.695604 trillion as of November 30th, to be exact) is owed to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund. This makes up over half of all of the money that is owed in the form of "intragovernmental holdings" and 15% of the total money shown on the US debt clock.

Other programs that are owed staggering amounts of money include:

Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, $834.8 billion
Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund, $549.3 billion
Department of Defense, Medicare Eligible Retiree Fund, $209.1 billion


If you thought that the US government kept all excess contributions to programs such as Social Security safely stashed away, think again. That money has long been spent and the federal government has accumulated an astonishingly long list of IOUs.

This list of IOUs totalled over $5 trillion as of the end of November.

Source: TreasuryDirect.gov - Monthly Statement of the Public Debt of the United States (*.pdf)

Filed under: General Knowledge

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