Policy Basics: Top Ten Facts about Social Security



Happy Birthday, Social Security!

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, 83 years ago today. Here are some key facts about the program:

  • About 62 million people received Social Security checks in June of this year.
  • The average monthly check was $1,343.
  • Social Security lifts about 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty.
  • Benefits for the average worker are only about half those in other developed countries.
  • About 1 in 5 seniors rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income.
  • Administrative costs for the program are just 0.7 percent of annual benefits.
  • Social Security’s trust funds will be exhausted by 2034. If policymakers do not act by then, payments could be reduced by about 25 percent.


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