45.4 million people received Social Security benefits in 2000, including 4 million children:
- Social Security is life insurance: 15% of recipients are surviving family members of deceased workers. A widow with two young children collects an average monthly benefit of $1,700. For a young married worker with two children this is the equivalent of a $330,000 life insurance policy.
- Social Security is disability insurance: 15% of beneficiaries are disabled workers and their family members. The average monthly benefit for a disabled worker with a spouse and child is $1,311. For a married worker with children this is the equivalent of a $212,000 disability policy.
- Social Security provides retirement benefits: 70% of beneficiaries are retirees and family members. The average retiree’s monthly benefit is $830 for an individual, or $1,410 for a couple.
Social Security provides a foundation of economic security to all who work and contribute:
- For 40% of people over age 65, Social Security provides 80% or more of their income. The typical retired couple receives two-thirds of their income from Social Security.
- Annual cost-of-living increases and guaranteed lifetime benefits for retirees and their spouses assure that our seniors, disabled workers, and surviving family members can live in dignity.
- Social Security reduces income inequality. Low earning workers receive a higher percentage of previous wages in retirement benefits.