BOSTON (CBS) – According to the latest data I found, 59 million Americans are receiving Social Security benefits totaling $863 billion. Of that number 42 million are retirees, 11 million are disabled workers and their dependents and 6 million are receiving survivor benefits (widows or widowers and children under 18).

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Social Security is the major source of income for most of our elderly. It truly is “old age insurance”.

  • Nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
  • Social Security benefits represent about 40% of the income of the elderly.
  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 52% of married couples and 74% of unmarried individuals receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 22% of married couples and about 47% of unmarried individuals rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.


Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits.

  • Retired workers and their dependents account for 74% of total benefits paid.
  • Disabled workers and their dependents account for 16% of total benefits paid.
    – About 90 percent of workers age 21-64 and their families have protection in the event of a long-term disability.
    – Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.
    – 68% of the private sector workforce has no long-term disability insurance.
  • Survivors of deceased workers account for about 10% of total benefits paid.
    – About one in eight of today’s 20 year-olds will die before reaching age 67.
    – About 96% of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment have survivor’s insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.
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An estimated 165 million workers are covered under Social Security.

  • 51% of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
  • 34% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.


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There are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By 2033, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.