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Happy 79th birthday, Social Security!

Written by Diane Archer
Today is Social Security’s 79th birthday.  Let’s take a moment to reflect on its importance. Most Americans rely on Social Security for a large part of their income.
  • People over 65 rely on Social Security for an average of two-thirds of their income.
  • One in three people over 65 receive at least 90 percent of their income from Social Security.
  • About 23 percent of White Americans over 65 rely exclusively on Social Security for their income, and approximately 35 percent of them rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their income.  A significantly higher percentage of Asians (~32 percent), Blacks (~37 percent) and Hispanics (~42 percent) rely exclusively on Social Security for their income.
  • Social Security income kept more than 15 million older adults from living below the poverty level in 2012.
  • People over 65 receive an average of $1300 a month from Social Security.
  • Relative to the other 33 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Social Security benefits are modest at best.  The United States ranks 31st, behind the Slovak Republic, Estonia, Chile and Korea, in the income security we provide retirees.
To learn more about the critical role Social Security plays, check-out Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson’s recent article titled, “Happy Birthday Social Security: Time to Expand Your Protections.” Nancy and Eric are co-founders of Social Security Works.

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