This annual publication focuses on the Social Security beneficiary population at the local level. It presents basic program data on the number and type of beneficiaries and the amount of benefits paid in each state and county. It also shows the numbers of men and women aged 65 or older receiving benefits. This report is a useful planning aid for Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and for those providing information to federal, state, and local government agencies.
The data are derived from the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR), the principal administrative file of Social Security beneficiaries. The national ZIP + 4 file produced by the U.S. Postal Service is used to designate the beneficiary's state and county. The ZIP + 4 file, which specifies counties in terms of 9-digit ZIP Codes, provides a more accurate designation of counties in places where ZIP Code areas cross county boundaries than that which is available in the MBR.
The data include only persons whose benefits are currently payable. Those whose benefits were withheld are excluded.
Some Social Security beneficiaries have a representative payee—a person designated by SSA to receive their monthly benefit when such action is in the beneficiary's best interest. About 4 percent of all adult beneficiaries and virtually all child beneficiaries under age 18 have representative payees. For most children, the representative payee is the parent with whom the child resides. For beneficiaries with representative payees, the state and county designations are those of the representative payees, not those of the beneficiaries.
A special procedure (controlled rounding) has been used in the preparation of tables 4 and 5 to avoid disclosure of the reason for eligibility of small groups and the amount of benefits received. Under this procedure, county data on the number of persons shown in table 4 are changed according to the following formula:
- If the number is divisible by 5 (ends in 0 or 5) then the numbers are not changed.
- Otherwise, the number is rounded either to the next higher number divisible by 5 or the next lower number divisible by 5, in such a way that the difference between each rounded and unrounded cell value, each rounded and unrounded row total and each rounded and unrounded column total is less than 5.
- Subsequent to rounding of the numbers, the dollar amounts in table 5 are proportionately adjusted, upwards or downwards, as appropriate.
This publication was prepared in the Division of Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (RSDI) Statistics and Analysis. Salvatore J. Gallicchio was responsible for the programming and data processing. Rona Blumenthal compiled the data.
Acting Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics