Social Security Lifts 15 Million Elderly Americans Out of Poverty. Without Social Security benefits, 37.8 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the official poverty line. Most people aged 65 and older receive the majority of their income from Social Security.
The study estimated that without Social Security, more than 40 percent of seniors in American would be living at or below the poverty level.
Over 15 million Americans aged 65+ are economically insecure—living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($25,760 per year for a single person in 2021).
Although Social Security has reduced the poverty rate for elderly women, their poverty rate is still higher than men’s—11.8 percent compared with 6.9 percent. As Table 1 shows, elderly women who are not married have much higher poverty rates (17.3 percent) than married couples (4.3 percent).
The authors estimate that a $1,000 increase in Social Security benefits is associated with a 2 to 3 percentage point reduction in poverty rates for elderly households.
Only a small percentage of older Americans, 6.8 percent, receive income from Social Security, a defined benefit pension, and a defined contribution plan. A plurality of older Americans, 40.2 percent, only receive income from Social Security in retirement.
They Relied On Extended Family Without a job, a pension, savings or children to rely on, some Americans had to lean on their extended family to get by in the era before Social Security. Aunt, uncles, cousins and beyond were often tapped to provide assistance for elderly family members with no other means of support.
In 2019, 4.9 million people aged 65 and older lived in poverty.
For a family or household of 4 persons living in one of the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia, the poverty guideline for 2021 is $26,500.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that of the over 46 million Americans receiving Social Security retirement benefits… 21% of married couples and 45% of single persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.
Social Security offers a monthly benefit check to many kinds of recipients. As of August 2021, the average check is $1,437.55, according to the Social Security Administration – but that amount can differ drastically depending on the type of recipient. In fact, retirees typically make more than the overall average.
In 2021, a person must have less than $814 a month in unearned income to receive SSI benefits. A couple can get SSI if they have unearned income of less than $1,211 a month in 2021.
Does everyone get Social Security? No. Still, American workers who will not qualify for Social Security retirement benefits are relatively rare. If you are one of them, it’s important to know, so you can secure other sources of income or determine whether it’s possible for you to become eligible.
Poverty contributes to and exacerbates medical issues and health problems. Poverty can shorten your lifespan; talk with the professionals at Senior Living Experts to find the care and resources that you need now for chronic health conditions, medical issues, and incidental injuries.
Sixty-four million beneficiaries were in current-payment status; that is, they were being paid a benefit. Seventy percent of those beneficiaries were retired workers and 13% were disabled workers. The remaining beneficiaries—almost 17%—were survivors or the spouses and children of retired or disabled workers.