Did You Know That...
- We paid benefits to more than 49 million people in 2000.
- Social Security benefits were awarded to 4.3 million persons.
- Social Security provided at least half the income for 64% of aged persons.
- Women accounted for 57% of adult Social Security beneficiaries.
- The average age of Disability Insurance beneficiaries has fallen from just over 57 in 1960 to 50.8.
- Disability was the reason for paying 79% of SSI beneficiaries.
- Average Indexed Monthly Earnings
- Disability Insurance
- Hospital Insurance
- Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance
- Old-Age and Survivors Insurance
- Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics
- Primary Insurance Amount
- Social Security Administration
- Supplemental Security Income
General Information, 2001
|NOTE: Social Security tax for employers and self-employed can be partially offset under income tax rules.|
Average wage index
|SOURCE: Office of the Chief Actuary, SSA.|
Maximum earnings subject to Social Security taxes
|Type of earner||OASI||DI||HI|
|Maximum earner||4,261||724||No limit|
|Self-employed maximum earner||8,522||1,447||No limit|
Quarters of coverage
- $830 in earnings equals 1 quarter of coverage (or 1 credit)
- $3,320 is the maximum earnings needed for 4 quarters of coverage (or 4 credits) per year
Retirement earnings test
|Ages 62–64 ($1 for $2 withholding rate)||10,680||890|
|Calendar year attaining age 65 ($1 for $3 withholding rate) a||25,000||2,083|
|After calendar year attaining age 65 or older||No limit||No limit|
|a. No longer in effect beginning with month attaining age 65.|
Age for full retirement benefit
|Full benefit at age—||Applicable to workers who
attain age 62 in year—
|65 and 4 months||2001|
|65 and 6 months||2002|
|65 and 8 months||2003|
|65 and 10 months||2004|
|66 and 2 months||2017|
|66 and 4 months||2018|
|66 and 6 months||2019|
|66 and 8 months||2020|
|66 and 10 months||2021|
|67||2022 and later|
Benefit formula bend points
Primary insurance amount equals:
90% of the first $561 of AIME, plus
32% of AIME over $561 through $3,381, plus
15% of AIME over $3,381
Maximum family benefit equals:
150% of the first $717 of PIA, plus
272% of PIA over $717 through $1,034, plus
134% of PIA over $1,034 through $1,349, plus
175% of PIA over $1,349
Substantial gainful activity
- Earnings of $740 per month for nonblind disabled persons
- Earnings of $1,240 per month for blind persons
OASDI administrative expenses
Trust fund operations
|Calendar year and program||Income||Outgo||Fund
|SOURCE: 2001 Trustees' Report.|
|Type of filing||Number|
|OASI claims a||3.4 million|
|DI claims||1.5 million|
|SSI applications||1.7 million|
|a. OASI claims exclude those filed by disabled widow(er)s and disabled adult children of retired or deceased workers, which are included in the DI claims.|
Supplemental Security Income
|Federal payment standard||530||796|
|Family of two, aged head||9,862||10,075||10,409|
|Family of four||16,660||17,029||17,761|
|SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau.|
Income of the Aged Population
Size of Income, 1962 and 1999
Median annual income for both married couples and nonmarried persons (aged 65 or older) has increased markedly since 1962 (the earliest year for which data are available). Even after adjusting for inflation, median income has risen 99% for married couples and 102% for nonmarried persons.
Receipt of Income, 1962 and 1999
Social Security benefits—the most common source of income in 1962—are now almost universal. The proportion of the aged population with asset income—the next most common source—has grown from about one-half to nearly two-thirds. Over the 37-year period, receipt of private pensions has more than tripled, and receipt of government pensions has increased by almost 50%. A smaller proportion of couples and nonmarried persons aged 65 or older received earnings in 1999 than in 1962.
Shares of Aggregate Income, 1962 and 1999
In 1962, Social Security, private and government employee pensions, income from assets, and earnings made up only 84% of the total income of the aged, compared with 96% in 1999. Although private pensions still accounted for only a small proportion of total income in 1999, they more than tripled their share in this period—from 3% to 10%. The share from earnings declined from 28% to 21%.
Reliance on Social Security, 1999
The OASDI program paid benefits to 90% of persons aged 65 or older. It was the major source of income (providing at least 50% of total income) for 64% of aged beneficiaries (couples or nonmarried persons), and it was the only source of income for 18%.
Poverty Among Social Security Beneficiaries, 1999
Overall, 8% of aged beneficiaries were poor; without Social Security, the total poverty rate would have been 48% assuming no other changes. (Data are based on family income rather than individual income to conform to official measures of poverty.)
Covered Earnings, 1937–2000
To pay for benefits, people contribute to Social Security through payroll taxes or self-employment taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Acts (FICA and SECA). The maximum taxable amount is updated annually on the basis of increases in average wages. Of the 153 million workers with Social Security taxable earnings in 2000, 6% had earnings that equaled or exceeded the maximum amount subject to taxes, compared with 3% when the program began and a peak of 35% in 1965. About 84% of earnings in covered employment were taxable in 2000, compared with 92% in 1937.
Insured Status, 1970–2001
Of persons aged 20 or older, the percentage insured for benefits has steadily increased over time. The percentage permanently insured (those with enough covered work experience to qualify for retired-worker benefits at retirement age) rose from 50% in 1970 to 69% in 2001. The percentage fully insured increased from 77% to 88%. To be fully insured, a worker must have at least one quarter of coverage for each year elapsed after 1950 (or age 21, if later) and before the year in which he or she attains age 62 or becomes disabled. To be insured for disability, the worker must be fully insured and have at least 20 quarters of coverage during the last 40 quarters. (Requirements for currently insured status are somewhat different for persons younger than age 31.)
|SOURCE: Office of the Chief Actuary, SSA.|
|a. As of December 31.|
|b. The population in the Social Security area includes residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia; residents of other outlying areas; federal civilian employees and Armed Forces abroad and their dependents; crew members of merchant vessels; and certain other U.S. citizens residing abroad.|
Insured Status by Sex, 1970 and 2001
Although men are more likely than women to be insured, the gender gap is shrinking. The proportion of men insured has remained essentially stable, with 93% fully insured and about 73% insured for disability. By contrast, the proportion of women insured has increased dramatically—from 63% to 84% for those fully insured and from 33% to 60% for those insured for disability.
New Benefit Awards, 2000
Benefits were awarded to 4.3 million persons: 46% were retired workers and 14% were disabled workers. The remaining 40% were spouses, children, survivors, or dependents of workers who received benefits based on the worker's earnings record. These awards represent not only new entrants to the benefit rolls but also persons already on the rolls who become entitled to a different benefit, for example, conversions of disabled-worker benefits to retired-worker benefits at age 65.
|Type of award||Number
|Retired workers and dependents||2,418||56|
|Spouses and children||457||10|
|Disabled workers and dependents||1,029||24|
|Spouses and children||408||10|
|Survivors of deceased workers||843||20|
New Awards to Workers, 1960–2000
Awards to retired workers have increased considerably since 1960 but proportionately much less than awards to disabled workers. The patterns of growth have also differed. Retired-worker awards rose steadily during the first half of the period, then leveled off around 1980. Disabled-worker awards increased rapidly until the mid-seventies, then declined considerably for about a decade, resuming their growth during the nineties.
Benefits in Current-Payment Status, December 2000
More than 45 million beneficiaries were in current-payment status, that is, they were being paid a benefit. The majority of those beneficiaries were retired workers.
|All beneficiaries in current-payment status||45,415||100|
|Retired workers and dependents||31,756||70|
|Spouses and children||3,257||7|
|Disabled workers and dependents||6,673||15|
|Spouses and children||1,631||4|
|Survivors of deceased workers||6,985||15|
Average Benefit Amounts, 2000
Benefits payable to workers who retire at the full retirement age and to disabled workers are equal to 100% of the PIA (subject to any applicable deductions). At the full retirement age, widows' benefits are also payable at 100% of the insured worker's PIA. Nondisabled widows and widowers can receive reduced benefits at age 60. Disabled widows can receive benefits (with a greater reduction) at age 50. Spouses, children, and parents receive a smaller proportion of the worker's PIA than widows do.
|Type of beneficiary||New awards||Current-payment
|Nondisabled widows and widowers||717||810|
|Disabled widows and widowers||527||520|
|Widowed mothers and fathers||600||595|
Hypothetical Benefit Amounts, 2001
A covered worker who had worked continuously at low wages (45% of average national wages) and who claimed benefits at age 62 in January 2001 would receive a monthly benefit of $541. One who had earnings at or above the maximum amount subject to Social Security taxes and who claimed benefits at age 65 would receive $1,538. Someone who retired at age 70, which maximizes the effect of the delayed retirement credit, would receive $1,879.
Beneficiaries by Age, December 2000
Some 81% of all OASDI beneficiaries with benefits in current-payment status were aged 62 or older. Among OASI beneficiaries, 93% were 62 or older. Among DI beneficiaries (disabled workers and their spouses and children), most were under age 62.
Disabled-Worker Beneficiaries by Age, 1960–2000
The average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries in current-payment status has declined substantially since 1960, when DI benefits first became available to persons younger than age 50. In that year, the average age of a disabled worker was 57.2 years. By 1980, it had fallen to 53.2, and in 2000, the average age was 50.8.
Beneficiaries by Sex, December 2000
Of all adults receiving monthly Social Security benefits, 43% were men and 57% were women. More than 81% of the men and more than 57% of the women received retired-worker benefits. About one-fifth of the women received survivors benefits.
Average Monthly Benefit by Sex, December 2000
Among retired and disabled workers who collected benefits based on their own work record, men received a higher average monthly benefit than women. For those with benefits based on another person's work record (spouses and survivors), women had higher average benefits.
|Type of beneficiary||Men||Women|
|Nondisabled widows and widowers||607||812|
|Disabled widows and widowers||362||524|
|Mothers and fathers||503||600|
Women Beneficiaries, 1940–2000
The proportion of women among retired-worker beneficiaries has quadrupled since 1940. The proportion of women among disabled-worker beneficiaries has more than doubled since 1957, when DI benefits first became payable.
Women with Dual Entitlement, 1960–2000
The proportion of women aged 62 or older who are receiving benefits as dependents (that is, on the basis of their husband's earnings record only) has been declining—from 57% in 1960 to 34% in 2000. At the same time, the proportion of women with dual entitlement (that is, paid on the basis of both their own earnings record and that of their husband) has been increasing—from 5% in 1960 to 28% in 2000.
Shortly after the SSI program began in 1974, the number of persons receiving federally administered payments rose to 4 million. It remained at about that level until the mid-1980s, then rose through the mid-1990s. In 2000, it stood at about 6.6 million.
Payment Amounts by Age, December 2000
The average federally administered SSI payment was $379. Payments varied by age group, ranging from an average of $463 for those under 18 to $303 for beneficiaries 65 or older.
Federally Administered Payments, December 2000
Over 6.6 million persons received federally administered SSI payments. Most received federal SSI only. States have the option of supplementing the federal benefit rate and are required to do so if that rate is less than the income the beneficiary would have had under the former state program.
Basis for Eligibility and Age, December 2000
One-fifth of SSI beneficiaries have been awarded benefits on the basis of age; most of the rest on the basis of disability. Almost one-third of the beneficiaries were aged 65 or older. In the SSI program—unlike the OASDI program—a disabled beneficiary is still classified as "disabled" after reaching age 65. DI beneficiaries are converted to the retirement program when they attain age 65.
Beneficiaries Aged 65 or Older, 1974–2000
The proportion of SSI beneficiaries aged 65 or older has declined from 61% in January 1974 to 30% in December 2000. The long-term growth of the SSI program has occurred because of an increase in the number of disabled beneficiaries, most of whom are under age 65.
Beneficiaries by Sex and Age, December 2000
Overall, 59% of the SSI beneficiaries were women, but that percentage varied greatly by age group. Women accounted for nearly three-fourths of beneficiaries aged 65 or older, nearly three-fifths of those aged 18–64, and over a third of those under age 18.
Other Income, December 2000
Fifty-nine percent of aged SSI beneficiaries received OASDI benefits, as did about 30% of those aged 18-64 and 7% of those under age 18. Other types of unearned income, such as veterans' pensions or income from assets, occurred most frequently among those under age 18 (17%) and those aged 65 or older (16%). Earned income was most prevalent (7%) among those 18–64.
OASDI and/or SSI
All Beneficiaries, December 2000
More than 49 million people received a payment from Social Security. Most (43.0 million) received OASDI benefits only, about 4.2 million received SSI only, and 2.4 million received payments from both programs.
|Type of benefit||Number
|Both OASDI and SSI||2,383|
Aged Beneficiaries, December 2000
Aged or survivors benefits were paid to 33.5 million people aged 65 or older. About 1.2 million of them received both OASI and SSI.
|Type of beneficiary||Number
|Aged 65 or older, total (unduplicated)||33,544|
|OASI, total a||32,722|
|Disabled adult children aged 65 or older||64|
|SSI, total c||2,011|
|Receiving SSI only||822|
|Concurrently receiving both OASI and SSI||1,188|
|a. Total includes 3,500 persons who received either dependent parents benefits, special age-72 benefits, or mothers/fathers benefits.|
|b. Includes 23,000 spouses of disabled workers who were aged 65 or older.|
|c. Includes 721,500 disabled and blind SSI beneficiaries aged 65 or older.|
Disabled Beneficiaries, December 2000
Payments based on the beneficiary's own disability were made to 9.3 million people under age 65. About 36% of them received payments from the SSI program only, 51% received Disability Insurance payments under the OASDI program only, and 13% received payments from both programs.
|Type of benefit||Number
|Children aged 18–64||665|
|Disability Insurance only||4,713|
|SSI disability a||4,591|
|Under age 18||847|
|SSI disability only||3,396|
|Both Disability Insurance and SSI||1,195|
|a. Total excludes 721,500 disabled and blind SSI beneficiaries aged 65 or older.|
Children and Social Security
OASDI Beneficiaries, December 2000
Over 3 million children under age 18 and students aged 18–19 received OASDI benefits—about half of them as the children of deceased workers. Those children had the highest average payments, in part because they are eligible to receive monthly benefits equal to 75% of the worker's PIA, whereas the children of retired or disabled workers may receive 50%. Overall, the average monthly benefit amount for children was $381.
SSI Beneficiaries, 1974–2000
In 1974, when the program began, there were 70,900 blind and disabled children receiving SSI. Since then, that number has increased to 847,000. The relatively high average payment to children (compared with payments made to blind and disabled adults) is due in part to a limited amount of other countable income. The peak in average monthly benefits in 1992 is due to retroactive payments resulting from the Sullivan v. Zebley decision.
Poverty Among Children in Beneficiary Families
In 1999, 6.6 million children were living in families receiving OASDI and/or SSI. About 1.8 million children were poor even though those benefits improved their situation. Excluding Social Security and assuming no other changes, about 3 million children would have had income below the poverty level.