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Social Security critical for middle-class retirees

Written by Diane Archer

We all know that Social Security is critical for the well-being of people over 65 with low incomes and assets. A new report from the Social Security Administration reveals that Social Security is also critical to the economic and retirement security of nearly 70 percent of middle income people over 65.  (Social Security defines the middle class as people in the three middle quintiles of the income distribution, between $28,000 and $109,000 for married couples and between $11,000 to $41,000 for individuals.)

Here’s some eye-opening data:

  • Social Security represents more than 50 percent of total retirement income for almost seven in ten middle-class older Americans.
  • For nearly 50 percent of middle-class retirees who are married, Social Security represents their chief income source. And, Social Security represents 90 percent or more of the income of more than 10 percent of older married couples.
  • For more than 80 percent of single middle-class older Americans–including widows and divorced men and women–Social Security represents their chief income source. And Social Security represents 90 percent or more of the total income of nearly half of them.

Social Security: Main Source of Retirement Income for Most Middle-Class Beneficiaries

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security keeps more than four in ten older Americans from falling below the poverty level. Even with Social Security, 9 percent of them are pushed into poverty because benefits are not generous enough to afford them adequate economic security.

If you want Congress to expand Social Security, please sign this petition.

Here’s more from Just Care:


1 Comment

  • …living on Social Security by itself is seriously impoverished living. More are finding themselves with SS as the only source of income due to low stagnant wages and rising costs (particularly housing – see below) that made it impossible to put any savings away. Others lost or needed to spend what they had saved during the recession just to keep afloat.

    In many cities like where I am where housing costs have become ridiculously expensive due to upscale development and gentrification. Here in Portland OR the median rent for a 1-BR apartment is 1,400$ (actually much higher in many of the inner neighbourhoods, in some cases upwards of 1,800$ – 2,100$ a month). Even rooms in shared housing here are listing for 700$ – 1,000$ a month. plus utilities.

    There is also an extreme shortage of low income/subsidised housing here due to the fact that many residents have been priced out of the market by the skyrocketing rents and had no other option. Section 8 applications are closed indefinitely, while wait lists for low income units is measured in multiple years.

    If like myself, all you have is Social Security to depend on, you are pretty much either out on the street or living in a shelter/transition housing with drug addicts, alcoholics and unstable individuals. This is not what retirement is supposed to be. More and more who find themselves homeless, particularly families, are victims of the economy and greed on the part of developers. While the city administration is wondering what to do about it, they too are contributory to the situation by allowing almost unchecked development and attracting high paid professionals here from other parts of the country though promoting the city’s “liveability”. In so doing they have allowed Portland to be come economically “unliveable” for the majority of long time residents (who don’t make 60,000$ – 100,000$ a year) as well as seniors who’s only income is Social Security.

    Something seriously needs to give here, however this administration and Congress apparently is set on making the situation even worse than it already is though proposed budget cuts to social programmes including Social Security.

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