Financial Services Blog

14 Interesting Facts About Social Security

In my blogs, I've covered financially-intricate topics such as the Affordable Care Act, IRAs and long-term care planning. Today, I'll shed light on Social Security and break it down as to what it means for you. 

It's easy to take Social Security for granted when retirement is years away, but with 94% of the U.S. workforce covered by Social Security,* it's likely that this program will play a role in your financial future, perhaps even sooner than you think.

Here are some facts and statistics from the Social Security Administration that highlight why Social Security is important to so many people.

Retirement benefits

The Social Security program began in 1935 as a way to protect individuals against economic hardship. Over the years, Social Security has grown to include several other types of benefits, but Social Security is still synonymous with retirement.

Did you know that …

  • Approximately 70% of Social Security benefits are paid to retirees and their dependents**
  • 73% of workers elect to receive reduced benefits early, before their full retirement age*
  • The average monthly retirement benefit is $1,262**
  • The maximum monthly retirement benefit payable in 2014 is $2,642 for someone retiring at full retirement age***

Survivors benefits

Upon your death, your surviving spouse, ex-spouse, children, or dependent parents may be eligible to receive benefits based on your earnings record. These benefits can be a valuable source of income when your family needs it the most.

Did you know that …

  • Survivors of deceased workers account for about 11% of Social Security benefits paid**
  • About 96% of persons aged 20 to 49 have survivors protection for their children under 18 and for their surviving spouse who cares for those children****
  • The average monthly family benefit is approximately $2,561 for a widowed mother or father and two children*

Disability benefits

Disability benefits from Social Security can help protect you and family members that rely on you for financial support in the event that due to sickness or injury you're unable to work and earn a living.

Did you know that …

  • Disabled workers and their dependents account for 19% of Social Security benefits paid**
  • Approximately 90% of workers age 21 to 64 and their families are protected against long-term disability****
  • The average age of a worker receiving disability benefits is 53.2**
  • The average monthly benefit for a disabled worker is $1,130**

(Watch "The Faces and Facts of Disability" video here)

Other facts

Here are some other facts about Social Security that you may not know:

  • 55% of adult Social Security beneficiaries are women**
  • More than 3.4 million children under age 18 and students age 18 to 19 receive Social Security benefits**
  • Social Security provides at least half of total retirement income for 74% of nonmarried beneficiaries age 65 or older**

All of the following source publications can be found on the Social Security Administration's website, www.ssa.gov.

*Annual Statistical Supplement, 2013, published February 2014
**Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2013, published July 2013
***Fact Sheet: 2014 Social Security Changes, published October 2013
****Social Security Basic Facts, published July 2013

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