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Social Security Basic Facts

August 20 , 2008 (Printer Friendly VersionGet Acrobat Reader (Aquí en Español)
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  • In 2008, over 50 million Americans will receive nearly $614 billion in Social Security benefits.

    June 2008 Beneficiary Data
    Retired workers
    32 million
    $34.7 billion
    $1,084 average monthly benefit
    2.9 million
    $ 1.6 billion
    Disabled workers
    7.2 million
    $ 7.3 billion
    $1,005 average monthly benefit
    1.8 million
    $ .5 billion
    6.5 million
    $ 6 billion
    $1040 average monthly benefit
  • Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly.

    • Nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
    • Social Security benefits represent about 40% of the income of the elderly.
    • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 52% of married couples and 72% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
    • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 20% of married couples and about 41% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.
  • Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits.
    • Retired workers and their dependents account for 72% of total benefits paid.
    • Disabled workers and their dependents account for 16% of total benefits paid.
      • About 91 percent of workers age 21-64 in covered employment and their families have protection in the event of a long-term disability.
      • Almost 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.
      • 69% of the private sector workforce has no long-term disability insurance.
    • Survivors of deceased workers account for 12% of total benefits paid.
      • About one in eight of today’s 20 year-olds will die before reaching age 67.
      • About 97% of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment in 2007 have survivors insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.
  • An estimated 164 million workers, 96% of all workers, are covered under Social Security.

  • 52% of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
  • 31% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.
  • In 1935, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was 12½ years, today it's 18 years.

  • By 2034, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as today -- from 38.6 million today to 74 million.

  • There are currently 3.3 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By 2034, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.

SSA Press Office  440 Altmeyer Bldg.  6401 Security Blvd.  Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904  FAX 410-966-9973

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