Straight Facts on Social Security

Fact Sheet | October 1, 2007

Executive Summary

Social Security is a great American success story:

  • In 2006 Social Security provided $546 billion in benefits to 49 million people.
  • With lifetime retirement benefits, annual cost of living increases, and family benefits, Social Security has come close to eliminating poverty among the elderly.
  • While we often think of Social Security as a retirement program, 3 survivors or disability insurance.
  • 3.1 million children under age 18 are direct Social Security beneficiaries themselves;  another 2.2 million children have an immediate family member on Social Security.
  • Social Security benefits are progressive, replacing half the earning one third the income of median wage earners, and workers.

Social Security is financially healthy, now and in the future:

  • Social Security has been collecting extra payroll taxes for the past 2 the retirement of the baby boom generation. In 2006 Social Security took in $74 billion more  in payroll taxes and $92 billion more in interest and other income than it paid out in benefits  and expenses
  • Because wages and benefits project that each generation of workers and retirees will be better off than their parents.

Full Fact Sheet >

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