Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2008

 

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Abbreviations

AIME
average indexed monthly earnings
DI
Disability Insurance
FICA
Federal Insurance Contributions Act
FRA
full retirement age
HI
Hospital Insurance
OASDI
Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance
OASI
Old-Age and Survivors Insurance
PIA
primary insurance amount
SECA
Self-Employment Contributions Act
SSA
Social Security Administration
SSI
Supplemental Security Income

General Information, 2008

Cost-of-living adjustment

Cost-of-living adjustment, 2008: 2.3%

Tax rates

Tax rates, 2008 (in percent)
Program Employer and
employee, each
Self-employed
Total 7.65 15.30
OASI 5.30 10.60
DI 0.90 1.80
HI 1.45 2.90
 

Average wage index

Average wage index, 2006–2008
Year Dollars Increase from
previous year
(in percent)
2006 38,651.41 4.6
2007 (estimated) 40,307.02 4.3
2008 (estimated) 41,953.05 4.1
 

Maximum earnings subject to Social Security taxes

Maximum earnings subject to Social Security taxes, 2008 (in dollars)
Program Amount
OASDI 102,000
HI No limit
 

Taxes payable

Taxes payable, 2008 (in dollars)
Type of earner Total OASI DI HI
Average earner 3,209 2,224 378 608
Maximum earner 6,324 5,406 918 No limit
Self-employed maximum earner 12,648 10,812 1,836 No limit
NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Work credits

Work credits (quarters of coverage), 2008:
  • $1,050 in earnings equals 1 credit
  • $4,200 in earnings qualifies for the maximum of 4 credits

Retirement earnings test

Retirement earnings test, 2008 (in dollars)
Period Annually Monthly
Ages 62–64 ($1 for $2 withholding rate) 13,560 1,130
Calendar year attaining full retirement age ($1 for $3 withholding rate) a 36,120 3,010
After calendar year attaining full retirement age or older No limit No limit
a. Test no longer applies beginning in the month in which retirement age is reached.

Age for full retirement benefit for retired workers

Age for full retirement benefit for retired workers
Year of birth Full retirement age
1937 and earlier 65
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943–1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 and later 67
 

Benefit formula bend points

Benefit formula bend points (for workers with first eligibility in 2008)

Primary insurance amount (PIA) equals

  • 90% of the first $711 of AIME, plus
  • 32% of AIME over $711 through $4,288 plus
  • 15% of AIME over $4,288

Disability thresholds

Disability thresholds

Substantial gainful activity

  • $940 per month for nonblind persons
  • $1,570 per month for blind persons

Trial work period

  • $670 per month

Maximum Social Security benefit

$2,185 per month for workers retiring at full retirement age

Trust fund operations

Trust fund operations, 2007–2008 (in billions of dollars)
Calendar year and trust fund Income Outgo Fund
at end
of year
2007 (actual)
Total 784.9 594.5 2,238.5
OASI 675.0 495.7 2,023.6
DI 109.9 98.8 214.9
2008 (estimated)
Total 819.7 623.5 2,434.7
OASI 708.0 515.6 2,216.0
DI 111.6 107.9 218.7
NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

OASDI administrative expenses

OASDI administrative expenses: Costs were 0.8% of contributions in calendar year 2007

Benefit payments

Benefit payments as a percentage of gross domestic product, 2006–2007
Calendar year Total OASI DI
2006 4.12 3.43 0.69
2007 4.23 3.53 0.69
 

Workload

Workload, fiscal year 2007 (in millions)
Type of filing Number
OASI claims 3.9
DI claims 2.6
SSI applications 2.7
 

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income, January 2008

Federal benefit rate

  • $637 individual
  • $956 couple

Resource limits

  • $2,000 individual
  • $3,000 couple

Poverty thresholds

Poverty thresholds, 2007 (in dollars)
Family unit Amount
Aged individual 9,944
Family of two, aged head 12,533
Family of four 21,386
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau as of January 2008.

Income of the Aged Population

Size of Income, 1962 and 2006

Median annual income for 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 100% for married couples and 111% for nonmarried persons. A married couple is aged 65 or older if the husband is aged 65 or older or if the husband is aged 54 or younger and the wife is 65 or older.

Median income of aged units, by marital status (in 2006 dollars)
Bar chart. Median income has risen for married couples from $19,192 in 1962 to $38,304 in 2006. Likewise, it has risen for nonmarried persons from $7,543 in 1962 to $15,928 in 2006.
SOURCES: Data for 1962 are from Social Security Administration, The Aged Population of the United States: The 1963 Social Security Survey of the Aged (1967). Data for 2006 are Social Security Administration calculations from the March 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.
NOTE: An aged unit is a married couple living together or a nonmarried person, which also includes persons who are separated or married but not living together.

Receipt of Income, 1962 and 2006

Social Security benefits—the most common source of income for married couples and nonmarried persons aged 65 or older in 1962—are now almost universal. The proportion of the aged population with asset income—the next most common source—is similar to that in 1962. Over the 44-year period, receipt of private pensions has more than tripled, and receipt of government pensions has increased by approximately 50%. The proportion of couples and nonmarried persons aged 65 or older who had earnings was smaller in 2006 than in 1962.

Percentage of aged units receiving income, by source
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCES: Data for 1962 are from Social Security Administration, The Aged Population of the United States: The 1963 Social Security Survey of the Aged (1967). Data for 2006 are Social Security Administration calculations from the March 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.
NOTE: An aged unit is a married couple living together or a nonmarried person, which also includes persons who are separated or married but not living together.

Shares of Aggregate Income, 1962 and 2006

In 1962, Social Security, private and government employee pensions, income from assets, and earnings made up only 84% of the aggregate total income of couples and nonmarried persons aged 65 or older, compared with 97% in 2006. The shares from Social Security, private pensions and government employee pensions have increased since 1962. The shares from earnings and asset income are the same in 2006 as they were in 1962.

Aggregate income, by source, 1962 and 2006
Two pie charts linked to data in table format.
SOURCES: Data for 1962 are from Social Security Administration, The Aged Population of the United States: The 1963 Social Security Survey of the Aged (1967). Data for 2006 are Social Security Administration calculations from the March 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.
NOTES: The unit of analysis is the aged unit, defined as a married couple living together or a nonmarried person, which also includes persons who are separated or married but not living together.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Relative Importance of Social Security, 2006

In 2006, 89% of married couples and 88% of nonmarried persons aged 65 or older received Social Security benefits. Social Security was the major source of income (providing at least 50% of total income) for 52% of aged beneficiary couples and 72% of aged nonmarried beneficiaries. It was 90% or more of income for 20% of aged beneficiary couples and 41% of aged nonmarried beneficiaries. Total income excludes withdrawals from savings and nonannuitized IRAs or 401(k) plans; it also excludes in-kind support, such as food stamps and housing and energy assistance.

Percentage of aged units receiving Social Security benefits, by relative importance of benefits to total income
Bar chart described in the text. In addition, Social Security provided at least 50% of total income for 64% of all beneficiary units. It was 90% or more of income for 32% of all beneficiary units.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration calculations from the March 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.
NOTE: An aged unit is a married couple living together or a nonmarried person, which also includes persons who are separated or married but not living together.

Poverty Status Based on Family Income, 2006

The aged poor are those with income below the poverty line. The near poor have income greater than or equal to the poverty line and less than 125% of the poverty line. Nonmarried women and minorities have the highest poverty rates, ranging from 16.8% to 22.7%. Married persons have the lowest poverty rates, with 4.4% poor and 3.3% near poor. Overall, 9.4% are poor and 6.2% are near poor.

Poverty status, by marital status, sex of nonmarried persons, race, and Hispanic origin
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration calculations from the March 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey.

OASDI Program

Earnings in Covered Employment, 1937–2007

People contribute to Social Security through payroll taxes or self-employment taxes (FICA and SECA), as required by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. The maximum taxable amount is updated annually on the basis of increases in the average wage. Of the 163 million workers with earnings in Social Security–covered employment in 2007, 6% had earnings that equaled or exceeded the maximum amount subject to taxes, compared with 3% when the program began and a peak of 36% in 1965. About 83% of earnings in covered employment were taxable in 2007, compared with 92% in 1937.

Taxable earnings as a percentage of earnings in covered employment and percentage of workers with maximum taxable earnings, selected years
Line chart. In 1937, 92% of earnings were in covered employment. That percentage fell gradually, reaching a low of 71.3% in 1965. It then rose steadily, peaking at 88.9% in 1985, then fell back slowly to about 83% in 2007. The percentage of workers with maximum earnings shows an inverse pattern. Only 3.1% of workers had maximum earnings in 1937, rising steadily and reaching a high of 36.1% in 1965. The percentage fell to 15% in 1975, then to 6.5% in 1985, and to 6% in 2007.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Office of the Chief Actuary.

Insured Status, 1970–2007

The percentage of persons aged 20 or older who are insured for benefits has increased over time. To be fully insured, a worker must have at least one work credit (quarter of coverage) for each year elapsed after age 21 (but no earlier than 1950) and before the year in which he or she attains age 62, becomes disabled, or dies. The maximum number of work credits needed to be fully insured is 40. An individual is said to be permanently insured if he or she has earned 40 work credits. To be insured for disability, the worker must be fully insured and have at least 20 work credits during the last 40 calendar quarters. (Requirements for disability-insured status are somewhat different for persons younger than age 31.) Disability benefits are available up to full retirement age (FRA).

Insured workers as a percentage of the corresponding Social Security area population, selected years
Year Population aged 20 or older Population aged 20–64a
Millions Percentage
permanently
insured
Percentage
fully
insured
Millions Percentage
insured for
disability
1970 135.2 50 77 113.2 62
1975 147.5 50 80 122.9 65
1980 162.0 53 83 133.3 70
1985 175.1 57 84 144.1 73
1990 186.0 63 86 151.9 76
1995 194.7 66 87 160.5 78
2000 204.7 69 88 169.2 79
2005 219.4 69 88 182.1 79
2006 221.7 69 88 184.0 79
2007 224.0 69 88 185.7 79
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Office of the Chief Actuary.
NOTES: The population in the Social Security area includes residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia adjusted for net census undercount; civilian residents of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands; federal civilian employees and persons in the armed forces abroad and their dependents; crew members of merchant vessels; and all other U.S. citizens abroad.
Figures are subject to revision.
a. Insured for disability excludes those over age 64.

Insured Status, by Sex, 1970 and 2007

Although men are more likely than women to be insured, the gender gap is shrinking. The proportion of men who are insured has remained essentially stable, with 91% fully insured and 83% insured for disability.a By contrast, the proportion of women who are insured has increased dramatically—from 63% to 84% fully insured and from 41% to 75% insured for disability.

Percentage of population in the Social Security area fully insured and insured for disability benefits, by sex
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Office of the Chief Actuary.
NOTES: The population in the Social Security area includes residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia adjusted for net census undercount; civilian residents of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands; federal civilian employees and persons in the armed forces abroad and their dependents; crew members of merchant vessels; and all other U.S. citizens abroad.
Figures are subject to revision.
a. Insured for disability excludes those over age 64.

New Benefit Awards, 2007

Benefits were awarded to about 4.7 million persons; of those, 43% were retired workers and 17% were disabled workers. The remaining 40% were survivors or the spouses and children of retired or disabled workers. 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, particularly conversions of disabled-worker benefits to retired-worker benefits at full retirement age.

New awards, by type of beneficiary
Beneficiary Number
(thousands)
Percent
Total 4,711 100
Retired workers and dependents 2,479 53
Workers 2,036 43
Spouses and children 443 9
Disabled workers and dependents 1,306 28
Workers 805 17
Spouses and children 501 11
Survivors of deceased workers 926 20
 
New awards, 2007
Pie chart described in the text.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.
NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

New Awards to Workers, 1960–2007

Awards to retired workers have increased considerably since 1960 but proportionately much less than awards to disabled workers. Following the implementation of Medicare in 1965, the number of awards to retired workers rose from 1.2 million in 1967 to over 2 million in 2007. Disabled-worker awards increased—from 208,000 in 1960 to 592,000 in the mid-1970s—before falling to 297,000 in 1982. The number then rose to a high of 830,000 in 2005, and was 805,000 in 2007.

New awards to retired and disabled workers
Line chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

Beneficiaries in Current-Payment Status, December 2007

Almost 50 million beneficiaries were in current-payment status, that is, they were being paid a benefit. Sixty-three percent of those beneficiaries were retired workers and 14% were disabled workers. The remaining 23% were survivors or the spouses and children of retired or disabled workers.

Beneficiaries in current-payment status
Beneficiary Number
(thousands)
Percent
Total 49,865 100
Retired workers and dependents 34,454 69
Workers 31,528 63
Spouses and children 2,926 6
Disabled workers and dependents 8,916 18
Workers 7,099 14
Spouses and children 1,817 4
Survivors of deceased workers 6,495 13
 
Beneficiaries, by type
Pie chart illustrating the Percent data from the previous table. In addition, showing that 10% of beneficiaries in current-payment status were spouses and children of retired and disabled workers.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

Average Benefit Amounts, 2007

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, widow(er)s' benefits are also payable at 100% of the insured worker's PIA. Nondisabled widow(er)s can receive reduced benefits at age 60. Disabled widow(er)s can receive reduced benefits at age 50. Spouses, children, and parents receive a smaller proportion of the worker's PIA than do widow(er)s.

Average monthly benefit for new awards and for benefits in current-payment status (in dollars)
Beneficiary New awards Benefits in
current-payment
status, December
All beneficiaries 878 987
Retired workers 1,094 1,079
Spouses 390 531
Children 503 538
Disabled workers 1,053 1,004
Spouses 277 267
Children 280 299
Survivors of deceased workers
Nondisabled widow(er)s 864 1,040
Disabled widow(er)s 635 646
Widowed mothers and fathers 755 782
Surviving children 700 704
Parents 863 918
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

Beneficiaries, by Age, December 2007

About four-fifths of all OASDI beneficiaries in current-payment status were aged 62 or older, including 24 percent aged 75–84 and 10 percent aged 85 or older. About 15 percent were persons aged 18–61 receiving benefits as disabled workers, survivors, or dependents. Another 6 percent were children under age 18.

Beneficiaries, by age
Pie chart described in the text. In addition, 36% of all OASDI beneficiaries in current-payment status were aged 65-74 and 9% were aged 62-64.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

Disabled and Retired Workers, by Age, 1960–2007

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. The rapid drop in average age in the following years reflects a growing number of awards to workers under 50. By 1995, the average age had fallen to a low of 49.8, and by 2007, it had risen to 52.4. In contrast, the average age of retired workers has changed little over time, rising from 72.4 in 1960 to 74.0 in 2007.

Average age of disabled and retired workers, selected years
Line chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 10 percent sample for 1988 and 1990–2005 and 100 percent data for all other years.

Beneficiaries, by Sex, December 2007

Of all adults receiving monthly Social Security benefits, 44% were men and 56% were women. Seventy-nine percent of the men and 59% of the women received retired-worker benefits. About one-fifth of the women received survivor benefits.

Adult beneficiaries, by type of beneficiary and sex
Two pie charts linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.
NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Average Monthly Benefit, by Sex, December 2007

Among retired and disabled workers who collected benefits based on their own work records, men received a higher average monthly benefit than did women. For those with benefits based on another person's work record (spouses and survivors), women had higher average benefits.

Average monthly benefit (in dollars)
Beneficiary Men Women
All beneficiaries 1,184 896
Workers
Retired 1,216 935
Disabled 1,126 866
Spouses of—
Retired workers 308 536
Disabled workers 215 269
Survivors of deceased workers
Nondisabled widow(er)s 865 1,043
Disabled widow(er)s 469 653
Mothers and fathers 677 789
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

Women Beneficiaries, 1940–2007

The proportion of women among retired-worker beneficiaries has quadrupled since 1960. The percentage climbed steadily from 12% in 1940 to 47% in 1980, 48% in 1990, and 49% in 2007. The proportion of women among disabled-worker beneficiaries has more than doubled since 1957, when DI benefits first became payable. The percentage rose steadily from 19% in 1957 to 35% in 1990 and 47% in 2007.

Women beneficiaries as a percentage of retired workers and disabled workers, selected years
Line chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

Women with Dual Entitlement, 1960–2007

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 29% in 2007. 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 2007.

Women aged 62 or older, by basis of entitlement, selected years
Area chart described in the text. In addition, the percentage of women who are entitled solely on their own earnings records as retired or disabled workers has remained fairly steady over this period at about 41%.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 10 percent sample for 1993–2005 and 100 percent data for all other years.

SSI Program

Number of Recipients, 1974–2007

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides income support to needy persons aged 65 or older, blind or disabled adults, and blind or disabled children. Eligibility requirements and federal payment standards are nationally uniform. SSI replaced the former federal/state adult assistance programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Payments under SSI began in January 1974, with 3.2 million persons receiving federally administered payments. By December 1974, this number had risen to nearly 4 million and remained at about that level until the mid-1980s, then rose steadily, reaching nearly 6 million in 1993 and 7 million by the end of 2004. As of December 2007, the number of recipients was 7.4 million. Of this total, 4.2 million were between the ages of 18 and 64, 2 million were aged 65 or older, and 1.1 million were under age 18.

Persons receiving federally administered SSI payments, December
Line chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.
NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Payment Amounts, by Age, December 2007

The average monthly federally administered SSI payment was $468. Payments varied by age group, ranging from an average of $555 for recipients under 18 to $387 for those 65 or older. The maximum federal benefit rate in December 2007 was $623 for an individual, $934 for a couple, plus any applicable state supplementation.

Average monthly federally administered SSI payment
Bar chart described in the text. In addition, recipients aged 18-64 received an average payment of $484.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.
NOTE: Amounts exclude retroactive payments.

Federally Administered Payments, December 2007

A total of 7.4 million persons received federally administered SSI payments. The majority 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 recipient would have had under the former state program.

Type of SSI payment
Pie chart. In December 2007, 69% of the nearly 7.4 million SSI recipients received only a federal SSI payment, 27% received federally administered state supplementation along with their federal SSI payment, and 4% received only federally administered state supplementation.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.

Basis for Eligibility and Age of Recipients, December 2007

Sixteen percent of SSI recipients received benefits on the basis of age, the rest on the basis of disability. Twenty-eight percent of the recipients were aged 65 or older. In the SSI program, a disabled recipient is still classified as "disabled" after reaching age 65. In the OASDI program, DI beneficiaries are converted to the retirement program when they attain full retirement age.

SSI recipients, by basis for eligibility and age
Two pie charts. The first pie chart shows the percentage distribution in December 2007 of SSI recipients by basis for eligibility: 83% are disabled, 16% are aged, and 1% are blind. The second pie chart shows the same group distributed by age: 15% are under 18, 57% are aged 18-64, and 28% are 65 or older.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.

Percentage Distribution of Recipients, by Age, 1974–2007

The proportion of SSI recipients aged 65 or older has declined from 61% in January 1974 to 28% in December 2007. The overall long-term growth of the SSI program has occurred because of an increase in the number of disabled recipients, most of whom are under age 65.

Percentage distribution of SSI recipients, by age, December
Line chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.

Recipients, by Sex and Age, December 2007

Overall, 56% of the 7.4 million SSI recipients were women, but that percentage varied greatly by age group. Women accounted for 69% of the 2.0 million recipients aged 65 or older, 56% of the 4.2 million recipients aged 18–64, and 34% of the 1.1 million recipients under age 18.

SSI recipients, by sex and age
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.

Other Income, December 2007

Fifty-seven percent of SSI recipients aged 65 or older received OASDI benefits, as did 32% of those aged 18–64 and 7% of those under age 18. Other types of unearned income, such as income from assets, were reported most frequently among those under age 18 (19%) and those aged 65 or older (14%). Earned income was most prevalent (6%) among those aged 18–64.

Other income of SSI recipients, by source and age
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.

OASDI, SSI, or Both

All Beneficiaries, December 2007

About 54.7 million people received a payment from Social Security. Most (47.3 million) received OASDI benefits only, about 4.8 million received SSI only, and 2.6 million received payments from both programs.

Beneficiaries receiving OASDI, SSI, or both
Benefit Number
(thousands)
Total (unduplicated) 54,656
OASDI 49,865
OASDI only 47,296
SSI 7,360
SSI only 4,791
Both OASDI and SSI 2,569
 
Distribution of all beneficiaries
Pie chart. Of the 54.7 million beneficiaries in December 2007, 87% received only OASDI benefits, 9% received only SSI benefits, and 5% received both OASDI and SSI benefits.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data; Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.
NOTES: SSI includes federal SSI payments and federally administered state supplementation.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Beneficiaries Aged 65 or Older, December 2007

Benefits were paid to 36 million people aged 65 or older. About 1.1 million received both OASDI and SSI.

Beneficiaries aged 65 or older receiving OASDI, SSI, or both
Beneficiary Number
(thousands)
Total (unduplicated) 35,987
OASDI
Total 35,119
Retired workers 28,783
Disabled workers 269
Spouses 2,205
Widow(er)s 3,790 a
Disabled adult children 72
OASDI only 33,970
SSI
Total 2,017 b
Receiving SSI only 868
Receiving both OASDI and SSI 1,149
 
Distribution of beneficiaries aged 65 or older,
by program
Pie chart. Of the 36 million beneficiaries aged 65 or older in December 2007, 94% received only OASDI benefits, 3% received both OASDI and SSI benefits, and 2% received only SSI payments.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data; Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.
NOTES: SSI includes federal SSI payments and federally administered state supplementation.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.
a. Includes persons who received dependent parent's benefits or mother's and father's benefits.
b. Includes 812,000 SSI beneficiaries aged 65 or older who are disabled or blind.

Disabled Beneficiaries Aged 18–64, December 2007

Payments were made to 10.7 million people aged 18–64 on the basis of their own disability. Sixty-one percent received disability payments from the OASDI program only, 28% received payments from the SSI program only, and 12% received payments from both programs.

Disabled beneficiaries aged 18–64 receiving OASDI, SSI, or both
Beneficiary Number
(thousands)
Total (unduplicated) 10,735
OASDI disability
Total 7,768
Workers aged 64 or younger 6,830
Disabled adult children 723
Widow(er)s 215
OASDI disability only 6,513
SSI disability
Total 4,222
Receiving SSI disability only 2,967
Receiving both OASDI and SSI disability 1,255
 
Distribution of disabled beneficiaries aged 18–64
Pie chart described in the text.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data; Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.
NOTES: SSI includes federal SSI payments and federally administered state supplementation.
Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Children

OASDI Beneficiaries, December 2007

More than 3.2 million children under age 18 and students aged 18–19 received OASDI benefits. Children of deceased workers had the highest average payments, in part because they are eligible to receive monthly benefits based on 75% of the worker's PIA, compared with 50% for children of retired or disabled workers. Overall, the average monthly benefit amount for children was $483.

Number of and average monthly benefit for children of worker beneficiaries
Number of children of—
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
Average monthly benefit for children of—
Bar chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Master Beneficiary Record, 100 percent data.

SSI Recipients, 1974–2007

In 1974, when the program began, 70,900 blind and disabled children were receiving SSI. That number increased to 995,000 in 1996, declined to 847,000 in 2000, and is now 1,121,000. 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 spike in average monthly benefits in 1992 is due to retroactive payments resulting from the Sullivan v. Zebley decision. As of December 2007, blind and disabled children were receiving SSI payments averaging $555.

Number of and average monthly payment to children under age 18 receiving SSI
Number of children under age 18 receiving SSI
Line chart linked to data in table format.
Average monthly SSI payment to children under age 18a
Line chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Record (Characteristic Record Extract format), 100 percent data.
a. As of 1998, these figures exclude retroactive payments.

Social Security Financing

How Social Security Is Financed

Social Security is largely a pay-as-you-go program. Most of the payroll taxes collected from today's workers are used to pay benefits to today's recipients. In 2007, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds collected $784.9 billion in revenues. Of that amount, 84% was derived from payroll taxes and 2% from income taxes on Social Security benefits. Interest earned on the government bonds held by the trust funds provided the remaining 14% of income. Assets increased in 2007 because income exceeded expenditures for benefit payments and administrative expenses.

Sources and uses of Social Security revenues in 2007
Two pie charts showing the sources and uses of the $784.9 billion in revenue collected by the Social Security trust funds in 2007. The Sources of Revenues pie has three slices. Payroll taxes: 84%. Interest: 14%. Taxation of benefits: 2%. The Uses of Revenues pie has four slices. Benefit payments: 75%. Increase in trust funds: 24%. Administrative expenses: 1%. Railroad Retirement financial interchange: less than 1%.
SOURCES: 2008 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, Table II.B1.
NOTE: Totals do not necessarily equal the sum of rounded components.

Social Security's Demographic Challenge

The number of retired workers is projected to grow rapidly starting in 2008, when the members of the post–World War II baby boom begin to reach early retirement age, and will double in less than 30 years. People are also living longer, and the birth rate is low. As a result, the ratio of workers paying Social Security taxes to people collecting benefits will fall from 3.3 to 1 in 2007 to 2.1 to 1 by 2034. The Trustees Report projects that in 2017, when the ratio will be 2.7, there will not be enough workers to pay scheduled benefits at current tax rates. The Trustees Report also projects that redemption of trust fund assets will be sufficient to allow for full payment of scheduled benefits until 2041.

Ratio of covered workers to Social Security beneficiaries
Line chart. In 1955, there were 8.6 workers supporting each retiree. By 1975, that ratio had declined to 3.2 workers per beneficiary and remained between 3.1 and 3.4 over the next 30 years. Current projections have the ratio starting to decline again in 2008, decreasing at an accelerating rate until it reaches 2.1 workers per beneficiary in 2031. Thereafter, it continues to decline by one-tenth of a percentage point approximately every 15 years, arriving in 2085 at only 1.9 workers per beneficiary.
SOURCE: 2008 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, Table IV.B2.

The Long-Run Financial Outlook

Social Security is not sustainable over the long term at current benefit and tax rates. Within 9 years the program will begin paying more in benefits than it collects in taxes (see the chart below). By 2041 the trust funds will be exhausted. At that point, payroll taxes and other income will flow into the fund but will be sufficient to pay only 78% of program costs. As reported in the 2008 Trustees Report, the shortfall over the next 75 years is 1.70% of taxable payroll.

Social Security income minus costs as a percentage of taxable payroll
Line chart showing Social Security trust fund balance (income minus costs), expressed as a percentage of taxable payroll, from 2008 to 2085. The trust fund balance is about 1.74 percent of taxable payroll in 2008, and is projected to decline rapidly. Costs will begin to exceed income in 2017 and the trust fund will become insolvent in 2041. Annual trust fund balances are projected to range between -3.98 and -5.35 percent of taxable payroll from 2036 to 2085.
SOURCE: 2008 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds, Table IV.B1.