Highlights and Trends
Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance)
Employment and Earnings
|Workers in OASDI covered employment, 2011||157.7 million|
|Average earnings, 2011||$41,809|
|Earnings required in 2012 for—|
|1 quarter of coverage||$1,130|
|Maximum of 4 quarters of coverage||$4,520|
|Earnings test exempt amounts for 2012|
|Under full retirement age for entire year||$14,640|
|For months before reaching full retirement age in 2012||$38,880|
|Beginning with month of reaching full retirement age in 2012||Test eliminated|
|Cost-of-living adjustment for December 2011||3.6 percent|
|Average monthly benefit, December 2011|
|Widows and widowers, nondisabled||$1,185|
|Number of beneficiaries, December 2011|
|Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance||55.4 million|
|Retired workers||35.6 million|
|Widows and widowers, nondisabled||4.0 million|
|Disabled workers||8.6 million|
|Benefit payments, 2011|
|Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance||$725.1 billion|
|Old-Age and Survivors Insurance||$596.2 billion|
|Disability Insurance||$128.9 billion|
|Administrative expenses, 2011|
|Old-Age and Survivors Insurance|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||0.6 percent|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||2.2 percent|
- About 55.4 million persons received Social Security benefits for December 2011, an increase of 1,372,512 (2.5 percent) since December 2010. Sixty-nine percent were retired workers and their spouses and children, 11 percent were survivors of deceased workers, and 19 percent were disabled workers and their spouses and children.
- Seventy-four percent of the 35.6 million retired workers received reduced benefits because of entitlement prior to full retirement age. Relatively more women (76.4 percent) than men (71.3 percent) received reduced benefits.
- The number of beneficiaries aged 65 or older rose from about 34.5 million in 2006 to more than 38.2 million in 2011 (10.9 percent). The number of beneficiaries aged 85 or older increased at a greater rate during the 5-year period (14.5 percent), from fewer than 4.7 million in 2006 to more than 5.3 million in 2011. In 2011, about 53,000 centenarians were receiving Social Security.
- About 21.5 million women aged 65 or older received benefits for December 2011. About 9.7 million (45.1 percent) were entitled solely to a retired-worker benefit. About 6.3 million (29.1 percent) were dually entitled to a retired-worker benefit and a wife's or widow's benefit, and about 5.6 million (25.8 percent) were receiving wife's or widow's benefits only.
- More than 3.2 million children under age 18 received benefits, including 1,224,280 children of deceased workers, 1,706,029 children of disabled workers, and 314,970 children of retired workers.
- About 9.8 million persons received benefits based on disability—8,575,544 disabled workers, 977,026 disabled adult children, and 251,011 disabled widows and widowers. In addition, 164,030 spouses and 1,768,493 minor and student children of disabled workers received benefits.
- Average monthly benefits for December 2011, including the 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment, were $1,229 for retired workers, $1,111 for disabled workers, and $1,185 for nondisabled widows and widowers. Among retired workers, monthly benefits averaged $1,381 for men and $1,072 for women. For disabled workers, average monthly benefits were $1,237 for men and $972 for women.
- Average monthly family benefits for December 2011 were $2,220 for a widowed mother or father and children; $1,907 for a disabled worker, wife, and children; and $2,533 for a retired worker, wife, and children.
- Total OASDI benefit payments for calendar year 2011 were $725.1 billion. Payments from the OASI trust fund were $596.2 billion—an increase of 3.2 percent from the $577.4 billion paid in 2010.
- Benefit payments from the DI trust fund, from which benefits are paid to disabled workers, their spouses, and children, increased by 3.8 percent from $124.2 billion in 2010 to $128.9 billion in 2011.
- OASDI benefit awards in calendar year 2011 totaled 5,567,020, including 2,577,647 to retired workers, 498,248 to their spouses and children, and 885,713 to survivors of insured workers. Benefits were awarded to 998,979 disabled workers and to 606,433 of their spouses and children.
Supplemental Security Income
Annual Payment Adjustments
|Monthly federal benefit rate, effective January 2012|
|Individual living in his or her own household||$698|
|Couple with both members eligible||$1,048|
|Cost-of-living adjustment||3.6 percent|
|Federally administered payments|
|Benefits paid in 2011||$49.5 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2011||8.1 million|
|Average benefit, December 2011||$501.64|
|Federal SSI payments|
|Benefits paid in 2011||$46.0 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2011||7.9 million|
|Average benefit, December 2011||$481.31|
|Federally administered state supplementation|
|Benefits paid in 2011||$3.5 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2011||2.4 million a|
|Average benefit, December 2011||$118.57|
a. Includes 2.1 million persons receiving federal SSI and state supplementation and 0.2 million persons receiving state supplementation only.
- In December 2011, 8,112,773 persons received federally administered SSI payments—200,507 more than the previous year. Of the total, 2,058,641 (25.4 percent) were aged 65 or older; 4,777,010 (58.9 percent) were blind or disabled aged 18–64; and 1,277,122 (15.7 percent) were blind or disabled under age 18.
- The number of blind or disabled aged 18–64 rose by 145,503 (3.1 percent) between December 2010 and December 2011, and the number under age 18 increased by 37,853 (3.1 percent).
- During 2011, 1,031,023 persons were awarded federally administered payments, a decrease of 11,101 from the previous year. Of the 2011 awards, 719,080 went to blind or disabled recipients aged 18–64, 201,066 to those blind or disabled under age 18, and 110,877 to recipients aged 65 or older.
- Total federally administered SSI payments were $49.5 billion in 2011, up 2.8 percent from 2010. Federal SSI payments in 2011 were $46.0 billion (an increase of 3.1 percent over the previous year). Federally administered state supplementation totaled $3.5 billion.
|Total benefits paid in calendar year 2011|
|Hospital Insurance (Part A)||$252.9 billion|
|Supplementary Medical Insurance (Part B)||$288.5 billion|
|Number of enrollees in July 2011 (one or both of Parts A and B)||48.8 million|
|Administrative costs, 2011|
|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 2010||$338.8 billion|
|Number of unduplicated recipients, fiscal year 2010||65.6 million|
|Average 2010 vendor payment per unduplicated recipient|
|Persons aged 65 or older||$15,206|
|Permanently and totally disabled persons||$15,817|
|Dependent children under age 21||$2,027|
|Average 2010 vendor payment for medical services|
|Nursing facility services||$31,686|
|Inpatient general hospital care||$7,230|
Other Social Insurance Programs and Veterans' Benefits
|Total payments, 2010||$58.5 billion|
|Weekly benefit amount (regular programs)||$299.33|
|Duration of benefits||18.9 weeks|
|Weekly insured unemployment||4.5 million|
|Covered employment||125.8 million|
|Benefit payments, 2010||$57.5 billion|
|Compensation payments||$29.5 billion|
|Medical and hospitalization||$28.1 billion|
|Benefits paid by—|
|Private insurance carriers||$30.5 billion|
|State and federal funds||$13.6 billion|
|Employers' self-insurance||$13.4 billion|
|Covered workers per month||124.5 million|
|Costs as a percentage of covered payroll||1.23 percent|
Temporary Disability Insurance
|Average weekly benefit, 2009|
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||$625|
|Maximum family benefit||$1,251|
|Part B (claims filed before July 1, 1973)|
|Number of monthly benefits to miners, widows, and dependents, December 2011||21,944|
|Total benefits paid, calendar year 2011||$183.2 million|
|Part C (claims filed July 1, 1973, or later)|
|Total benefits paid, fiscal year 2011|
|Disability and survivors benefits||$192.0 million|
|Medical benefits||$33.4 million|
|Number of veterans with disability compensation or pension, 2011|
|Monthly payment in 2012 for—|
|10 percent disability||$127|
|Nonservice-connected disability (maximum payment)|
|With one dependent and in need of aid and attendance||$2,020|
|Weighted average poverty thresholds, 2011|
|Individual, aged 65 or older||$10,788|
|Couple, householder aged 65 or older||$13,609|
|Family of four||$23,021|
|Percentage of population with income below poverty level, 2011|
|All ages||15.0 percent|
|Children under age 18 living in families||21.4 percent|
|Persons aged 65 or older||8.7 percent|