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What Facts Must I Know About Social Security?

More than 67 million Americans (22% of the U.S. population) receive some form of Social Security.[1] The public insurance has been laying the foundation for economic security for Americans for more than 80 years, providing help to retirees and others.[2]

Since the nation’s founding, its leaders have struggled with finding humane and sound economic approaches to helping the elderly, widows and orphans, and the less fortunate. It wasn’t until President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, that Americans witnessed a turning point in the government’s role in providing a safety net for its aging population.[3]

Developed on the cusp of the Great Depression (1929- 1935), the act promised relief to millions of elderly and retired Americans. Social Security provided benefits for retirement, aid to dependent children, and insurance for the disabled or the unemployed.[4]

Today, Social Security benefits represent on average a third of retirees’ income.[5] Nearly 90% of Americans 65 and older receive some type of Social Security benefits. About half of married couples and 71% of unmarried people on Social Security rely on the benefits for at least 50% of their incomes. Nearly a quarter of married couples and about 43% of unmarried people rely on Social Security for at least 90% of their income.


[1] https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/

[2] https://www.nasi.org/learn/socialsecurity/overview

[3] https://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html

[4] https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/social-security/social-security-basics/ social-security-why-it-was-created-and-how-it-works.html

[5] https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/basicfact-alt.pdf

4 Critical Facts About Social Security

4 Critical Facts About Social Security

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