Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Straight Facts on Social Security

Social Security Is Far More Than A Retirement Program

Social Security is the bedrock of economic security for millions of children, as well as working and retired Americans.

  •  Social Security provided $675 billion in benefits to 53 million people in 2009, including over 1 million in Washington state.
  • 3.2 million children through age 19 are direct Social Security beneficiaries; many others have an immediate family member who receives Social Security benefits.
  • One third of beneficiaries collect survivors or disability insurance, keeping millions of families with a disabled or deceased breadwinner out of poverty.

Social Security benefits are progressive, replacing half the earnings for a low wage worker, one third for median wage earners, and one-quarter for high wage workers. Social Security has almost eliminated poverty among the elderly, thanks to lifetime retirement benefits, annual cost of living increases, and family benefits.

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