Tomorrow, August 14, 2015, marks the Social Security program’s 80th year providing retirement and disability benefits to workers and their families as well as survivor benefits to the spouses and dependents of deceased workers. Here are just seven reasons to celebrate Social Security on its birthday and every day:
In 2014, some 59 million people – or about 1 in 6 Americans – received Social Security benefits. And though we’ve endured economic recessions, government shutdowns, and other crises, Social Security has never missed a payment.
In 2012, nearly 2 in 3 people over the age of 65 relied on Social Security benefits for at least half of their income. And 1 in 3 relied on benefits for nearly all (90 percent or more) of their income.
Without Social Security, 42.6 percent of people over 65 would have been poor in 2013. Social Security benefits brought that percentage down to 9.5 percent. And benefits also lifted more than 6.2 million non-elderly adults and nearly 1.2 million kids out of poverty in 2013, making it one of the most effective anti-poverty programs we have.
Since 1989, just 1 percent of Social Security’s total annual cost is spent on administration – the other 99 percent goes to the millions of people receiving benefits every month.
Workers and employers each pay 6.2 percent of earnings up to $118,500 directly into Social Security’s trust fund. And currently, that trust fund holds a substantial $2.8 trillion.
Recent polling shows that when faced with hard choices about Social Security's future, Americans would increase the Social Security payroll tax on all workers and those with higher earnings in order to preserve benefits for current beneficiaries. What's more: nearly 3 in 4 people think we should consider increasing benefits.
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