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).
Across the country, 9 percent of seniors live in poverty. In California? 10 percent. In the Bay Area, that number is much higher, at 14% based on the federal poverty level.
In 2021, an average of 65 million Americans per month will receive a Social Security benefit, totaling over one trillion dollars in benefits paid during the year. Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly.
Compared to other age groups, those 65 and older have the highest poverty rate. Elderly women are more likely to live in poverty than elderly men.
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.
Demographics of elderly poverty A lifetime of lower earnings due to wage discrimination, absence from the labor market due to childbirth, and jobs that are less likely to have employer-sponsored retirement plans takes its toll.
Notes: Income is family cash income. The poverty rate “including Social Security” is the official poverty rate.
In general, a single senior with an annual income of $29,285 or less, and senior couples with a combined annual income of $47,545 or less, may be eligible for a benefit. These income levels are guidelines only, and are for seniors whose income includes full Old Age Security pension.
The only people who can legally collect benefits without paying into Social Security are family members of workers who have done so. Nonworking spouses, ex-spouses, offspring or parents may be eligible for spousal, survivor or children’s benefits based on the qualifying worker’s earnings record.
From the SIPP, NIRS declares that 40.2 percent of retirees receive all of their income from Social Security.
At age 62: $2,364. At age 65: $2,993. At age 66: $3,240.