Social Security Basic Facts (Printer Friendly Version)
October 13, 2015

In 2015, over 59 million Americans will receive almost $870 billion in Social Security benefits.

June 2015 Beneficiary Data
Retired workers 39.5 million $53 billion $1,335 average monthly benefit
dependents 3 million $ 2 billion  
Disabled workers 9 million $10.5 billion $1,165 average monthly benefit
dependents 2 million $ .7 billion  
Survivors 6.1 million $ 6.7 billion  

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 39% of the income of the elderly.
  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 53% of married couples and 74% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 22% of married couples and about 47% 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 in June 2015.
  • Disabled workers and their dependents account for 15% of total benefits paid in June 2015.
    • About 90 percent of workers age 21-64 in covered employment in 2013 and their families have protection in the event of a long-term disability.
    • Just over one in four 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 10% of total benefits paid.
    • About one in eight of today’s 20 year-olds will die before reaching age 67.
    • About 96% of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment in 2013 have survivors insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.

An estimated 165 million workers are covered under Social Security.

  • 51% of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
  • 34% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.

In 1940, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was almost 14 additional years; today it is almost 21 years.

By 2035, the number of older Americans will increase from 48 million today to 79 million.

There are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By 2035, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.