Social Security Weathered Covid-19 Better Than Expected, but Long-Term Challenges Remain

WASHINGTON—When the coronavirus pandemic plunged the U.S. into a recession last year, it portended another blow to the health of the Social Security system. An anticipated decline in payroll-tax revenue and increase in disability claims were expected to erode the program’s reserves and pile pressure on the government to respond.

Instead, the near-term finances of the federal government’s retirement and disability programs appear to have weathered the storm better than many policy...