Nearly 70M Americans receive benefits from Social Security Admin programs | The Numbers Racket

In 1974, when SSI benefits began, 3.2 million people received the federally administered benefits

By: - May 23, 2022 6:30 am

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First signed into law on Aug. 14, 1935 by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Social Security Act created the social insurance program that still exists today – 86 years later.

Roosevelt, who informed Congress of his intent to establish the program in 1934, wrote that Social Security would act as a safeguard for Americans “against the hazards and vicissitudes of life.”

Using data from the federal Social Security Administration, here’s a look at some of the most recent figures regarding Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

Fast Facts

In 2020, 69.8 million people received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration, according to the federal agency. 

Of those who received benefits from programs administered by the SSA in 2020, 5.8 million were “newly awarded Social Security benefits.”

The SSA reports that 55 percent of adult Social Security beneficiaries in 2020 were women. 

Eighty-six percent of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients receive benefits due to disability or blindness. 

The average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries was 55, according to the SSA. 

Projections for the Future

There are currently 2.7 covered workers, a person who has earnings creditable for Social Security purposes based on services for wages, for every Social Security beneficiary.

By 2035, the administration reports that there will be 2.3 covered workers for each beneficiary. 

In 1974, when SSI benefits began, 3.2 million people received the federally administered benefits. 

As of December 2020, the administration reports that number to be approximately 8 million. 

Of those 8 million, 4.6 million were between the ages of 18 and 64, 2.3 million were aged 65 or older, and 1.1 million were under age 18.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.

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