Top Ten Facts About Social Security

November 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm

We’ve updated our popular “Top Ten Facts About Social Security,” a highly successful program that marked its 77th birthday this summer:

  1. Social Security is more than just a retirement program.  It provides important life insurance and disability insurance protection as well.
  2. Social Security provides a guaranteed, progressive benefit that keeps up with increases in the cost of living.
  3. Social Security provides a foundation of retirement protection for nearly every American, and its benefits are not means-tested
  4. Social Security benefits are modest.
  5. Children have an important stake in Social Security.
  6. Almost half of the elderly would be poor without Social Security.  Social Security lifts 14 million elderly Americans out of poverty.
  7. Most elderly beneficiaries rely on Social Security for the majority of their income.  (See graph.)
  8. Social Security is particularly important for minorities.
  9. Social Security is especially beneficial for women.
  10. Social Security can pay full benefits through 2033 without any changes.  Relatively modest changes would place the program on a sound financial footing for the next 75 years and beyond.

Click here for the full report.

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More About Kathy Ruffing

Kathy Ruffing

Kathy Ruffing is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, specializing in federal budget issues.

Full bio | Blog Archive | Research archive at

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