Highlights and Trends
Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance)
Employment and Earnings
|Workers in OASDI covered employment, 2008||162.3 million|
|Average earnings, 2008||$39,950|
|Earnings required in 2009 for—|
|1 quarter of coverage||$1,090|
|Maximum of 4 quarters of coverage||$4,360|
|Earnings test exempt amounts for 2009|
|Under full retirement age for entire year||$14,160|
|For months before reaching full retirement age in 2009||$37,680|
|Beginning with month of reaching full retirement age in 2009||Test eliminated|
|Cost-of-living adjustment for December 2008||5.8 percent|
|Average monthly benefit, December 2008|
|Widows and widowers, nondisabled||$1,112|
|Number of beneficiaries, December 2008|
|Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance||50.9 million|
|Retired workers||32.3 million|
|Widows and widowers, nondisabled||4.2 million|
|Disabled workers||7.4 million|
|Benefit payments, 2008|
|Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance||$615.4 billion|
|Old-Age and Survivors Insurance||$509.1 billion|
|Disability Insurance||$106.3 billion|
|Administrative expenses, 2008|
|Old-Age and Survivors Insurance|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||0.6 percent|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||2.4 percent|
- About 50.9 million persons received Social Security benefits for December 2008, an increase of 1,033,406 (2.1 percent) since December 2007. Sixty-nine percent were retired workers and their spouses and children, 13 percent were survivors of deceased workers, and 18 percent were disabled workers and their spouses and children.
- Seventy-four percent of the nearly 32.3 million retired workers received reduced benefits because of entitlement prior to full retirement age. Relatively more women (76.3 percent) than men (71.2 percent) received reduced benefits.
- The number of beneficiaries aged 65 or older rose from about 33.5 million in 2003 to more than 35.7 million in 2008 (6.6 percent). Beneficiaries aged 85 or older increased at a greater rate during the 5-year period (14.0 percent) from about 4.3 million in 2003 to more than 4.9 million in 2008. In 2008, about 46,000 centenarians were receiving Social Security.
- About 20.4 million women aged 65 or older received benefits for December 2008. About 8.5 million (41.9 percent) were entitled solely to a retired-worker benefit. About 6 million (29.6 percent) were dually entitled to a retired-worker benefit and a wife's or widow's benefit, and about 5.8 million (28.5 percent) were receiving wife's or widow's benefits only.
- More than 3.1 million children under age 18 received benefits, including 1,280,182 children of deceased workers, 1,552,104 children of disabled workers, and 285,944 children of retired workers.
- About 8.5 million persons received benefits based on disability—7,426,691 disabled workers, 871,466 disabled adult children, and 230,007 disabled widows and widowers. In addition, 154,230 spouses and 1,607,085 minor and student children of disabled workers received benefits.
- Average monthly benefits for December 2008, including the 5.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment, were $1,153 for retired workers, $1,063 for disabled workers, and $1,112 for nondisabled widows and widowers. Among retired workers, monthly benefits averaged $1,299 for men and $1,001 for women. For disabled workers, average monthly benefits were $1,191 for men and $920 for women.
- Average monthly family benefits for December 2008 were $2,157 for a widowed mother or father and children; $1,824 for a disabled worker, wife, and children; and $2,344 for a retired worker, wife, and children.
- Total OASDI benefit payments for calendar year 2008 were $615.3 billion. Payments from the OASI trust fund were $509.1 billion—an increase of 4.8 percent from the $485.9 billion paid in 2007.
- Benefit payments from the DI trust fund, from which benefits are paid to disabled workers, their spouses, and children, increased by 7.3 percent from $99.1 billion in 2007 to $106.3 billion in 2008.
- OASDI benefit awards in calendar year 2008 totaled 5,134,644, including 2,278,997 to retired workers, 484,584 to their spouses and children, and 952,186 to survivors of insured workers. Benefits were awarded to 877,226 disabled workers and to 541,651 of their spouses and children.
Supplemental Security Income
Annual Payment Adjustments
|Monthly federal benefit rate, effective January 2009|
|Individual living in his or her own household||$674|
|Couple with both members eligible||$1,011|
|Cost-of-living adjustment||5.8 percent|
|Federally administered payments|
|Benefits paid in 2008||$43.0 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2008||7.5 million|
|Average benefit, December 2008||$477.79|
|Federal SSI payments|
|Benefits paid in 2008||$38.7 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2008||7.2 million|
|Average benefit, December 2008||$447.00|
|Federally administered state supplementation|
|Benefits paid in 2008||$4.4 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2008||2.3 million a|
|Average benefit, December 2008||$156.23|
a. Includes 2.0 million persons receiving federal SSI and state supplementation and 0.3 million persons receiving state supplementation only.
- In December 2008, 7,520,501 persons received federally administered SSI payments—160,976 more than the previous year. Of the total, 2,033,561 (27.0 percent) were aged 65 or older; 4,333,096 (57.6 percent) were blind or disabled aged 18–64; and 1,153,844 (15.3 percent) were blind or disabled under age 18.
- The number of blind or disabled aged 18–64 rose by 111,176 (2.6 percent) between December 2007 and December 2008, and the number under age 18 increased by 32,827 (2.9 percent).
- During 2008, 919,146 persons were awarded federally administered payments, an increase of 82,504 from the previous year. Of the 2008 awards, 629,697 went to blind or disabled recipients aged 18–64, 181,228 to those blind or disabled under age 18, and 108,221 to recipients aged 65 or older.
- Total federally administered SSI payments were $43.0 billion in 2008, up 4.5 percent from 2007. Federal SSI payments in 2008 were $38.7 billion (an increase of 4.8 percent over the previous year). Federally administered state supplementation totaled $4.4 billion.
|Total benefits paid in calendar year 2008|
|Hospital Insurance (Part A)||$232.3 billion|
|Supplementary Medical Insurance (Part B)||$229.3 billion|
|Number of enrollees in July 2008 (one or both of Parts A and B)||45.4 million|
|Administrative costs, 2008|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||1.5 percent|
|Supplementary Medical Insurance|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||1.4 percent|
|Medical service expenditures in fiscal year 2007||$276.5 billion|
|Number of unduplicated recipients, fiscal year 2007||56.8 million|
|Average 2007 vendor payment per unduplicated recipient|
|Persons aged 65 or older||$14,187|
|Permanently and totally disabled persons||$14,200|
|Dependent children under age 21||$1,797|
|Average 2007 vendor payment for medical services|
|Nursing facility services||$28,368|
|Inpatient general hospital care||$7,197|
Other Social Insurance Programs and Veterans' Benefits
|Total payments, 2008||$42.7 billion|
|Weekly benefit amount (regular programs)||$297.10|
|Duration of benefits||14.9 weeks|
|Weekly insured unemployment||3.3 million|
|Covered employment||132.8 million|
|Benefit payments, 2007||$55.5 billion|
|Compensation payments||$27.2 billion|
|Medical and hospitalization||$28.3 billion|
|Benefits paid by—|
|Private insurance carriers||$28.4 billion|
|State and federal funds||$13.7 billion|
|Employers' self-insurance||$13.3 billion|
|Covered workers per month||131.7 million|
|Costs as a percentage of covered payroll||1.45 percent|
Temporary Disability Insurance
|Average weekly benefit, 2006|
NOTE: Programs in effect in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico, and the railroad industry.
Black Lung Benefits
|Basic benefit to miner or widow||$599|
|Maximum family benefit||$1,197|
|Part B (claims filed before July 1, 1973)|
|Number of monthly benefits to miners, widows, and dependents, December 2008||32,411|
|Total benefits paid, calendar year 2008||$255.9 million|
|Part C (claims filed July 1, 1973, or later)|
|Total benefits paid, fiscal year 2008|
|Disability and survivors benefits||$270.4 million|
|Medical benefits||$36.8 million|
|Number of veterans with disability compensation or pension, 2008|
|Monthly payment in 2009 for—|
|10 percent disability||$123|
|Nonservice-connected disability (maximum payment)|
|With one dependent and in need of aid and attendance||$1,950|
|Weighted average poverty thresholds, 2008|
|Individual, aged 65 or older||$10,326|
|Couple, householder aged 65 or older||$13,030|
|Family of four||$22,025|
|Percentage of population with income below poverty level, 2007|
|All ages||12.5 percent|
|Children under age 18 living in families||17.6 percent|
|Persons aged 65 or older||9.7 percent|