Interesting facts and Statistics About Social Security Disability and SSI

Below are some facts and statistics released by Social Security.  This page is for those who like to know the big picture.

  1. SSA paid benefits to more than 53 million people in 2005
  2. About 16 percent of the total U.S. population and 91 percent of the population aged 65 or older received Social Security benefits in 2004
  3. Social Security provided at least half the income for 66 percent of the aged in 2004
  4. Social Security benefits were awarded to nearly 4.7 million people in 2005
  5. Women accounted for 56 percent of adult Social Security beneficiaries in 2005
  6. The average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries was 51.8 in 2005
  7. Eighty-three percent of SSI recipients received payments because of disability or blindness in 2005
  8. The maximum earnings subject to Social Security taxes is $94,200.

Maximum Social Security benefit for worker retiring at full benefit age is $2,053 for 2006.

All Beneficiaries, December 2005

About 53 million people received a payment from Social Security. Most (45.9 million) received OASDI benefits only, about 4.6 million received SSI only, and 2.5 million received payments from both programs.

Disabled Beneficiaries Aged 18–64, December 2005

Payments were made to 10.1 million people aged 18–64 on the basis of their own disability. Fifty-nine percent received disability payments from the OASDI (Old Age Survivor and Disability Insurance) program only, 28% received payments from the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program only, and 13% received payments from both programs.

New Benefit Awards, 2005

Benefits were awarded to nearly 4.7 million persons: of those, 43% were retired workers and 18% were disabled workers. The remaining 39% 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.

Beneficiaries in Current-Payment Status, December 2005

More than 48 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 13% were disabled workers. The remaining 24% were survivors or the spouses and children of retired or disabled workers.

Beneficiaries, by Age, December 2005

About four-fifths of all OASDI beneficiaries in current-payment status were aged 62 or older, including 25 percent aged 75–84 and 9 percent aged 85 or older. About 14 percent were persons aged 18–61 receiving benefits as disabled workers, survivors, or dependents. Another 6 percent were children under age 18.

Disabled and Retired Workers, by Age, 1960–2005

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 2005, it had risen slightly, to 51.8. In contrast, the average age of retired workers has changed little over time, rising from 72.4 in 1960 to 73.9 in 2005.

Beneficiaries, by Sex, December 2005

Of all adults receiving monthly Social Security benefits, 44% were men and 56% were women. Seventy-nine percent of the men and 58% of the women received retired-worker benefits. About one-fifth of the women received survivor benefits.

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 2005, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds collected $702 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 13% of income. Assets increased in 2005 because income exceeded expenditures for benefit payments and administrative expenses.

Supplemental Security Income or SSI Statistics and Facts

Number of Recipients, 1974–2005

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 2005, the number of recipients stood at 7.1 million. Of this total, 4.1 million were between the ages of 18 and 64, 2 million were aged 65 or older, and 1 million were under age 18.

Payment Amounts, by Age, December 2005

The average federally administered SSI payment was $439. Payments varied by age group, ranging from an average of $523 for recipients under 18 to $362 for those 65 or older. The maximum federal benefit rate in December 2005 was $579 for an individual, $869 for a couple, plus any applicable state supplementation.

Federally Administered Payments, December 2005

A total of 7.1 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.

Basis for Eligibility and Age of Recipients, December 2005

Seventeen 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—unlike the OASDI program—a disabled recipient is still classified as "disabled" after reaching full retirement age. DI beneficiaries are converted to the retirement program when they attain full retirement age.

SSI Recipients, 1974–2005

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 1,036,500. 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 2005, blind and disabled children were receiving SSI payments averaging $523.

Some more interesting statistics released in 2009 from the Social Security Administration.

In 2009, nearly 51 million Americans will receive $650 billion in Social Security benefits.

December 2008 Beneficiary Data 

There was 32 million retired workers recieving a total of $37.2 billion.   
There was 2.9 million dependents recieving a total of $ 1.6 billion.

$1,153 was the average monthly benefit for retired workers and their dependents as of December 2008.

There was 7.4 million Disabled workers recieving a total of $ 7.9 billion.   
There was 1.8 million dependents recieving a total of $ .6 billion.

$1,063 was the average monthly benefit for disabled workers and their dependents as of December 2008.

There was 6.5 million Survivors that recieved a total of $6.3 billion.

$1,112 was the average monthly benefit for Survivors. 

Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly.

Nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
Social Security benefits represent about 40% of the income of the elderly.
Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 52% of married couples and 72% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 20% of married couples and about 41% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.
Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits.

Retired workers and their dependents account for 69% of total benefits paid.
Disabled workers and their dependents account for 18% of total benefits paid.
About 91 percent of workers age 21-64 in covered employment and their families have protection in the event of a long-term disability.
Almost 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67.
69% of the private sector workforce has no long-term disability insurance.
Survivors of deceased workers account for about 13% of total benefits paid.
About one in eight of today’s 20 year-olds will die before reaching age 67.
About 97% of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment in 2008 have survivors insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.
An estimated 162 million workers, 94% of all workers, are covered under Social Security.

52% of the workforce has no private pension coverage.
31% of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement.
In 1935, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was 12½ years, today it's 18 years.

By 2034, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as today -- from 38.6 million today to 74 million.

There are currently 3.3 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By 2034, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.

We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client relationship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.
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