Social Security Statistics
Cantrell Green is a Long Beach law firm that specializes in the area of retirement and Social Security law. In this article, our attorneys discuss some highlights offered by the Social Security Administration’s recent report summarizing their statistical conclusions based on a 2017 study, and what the study shows in terms of trends within the Social Security system.
Number of People who Receive Social Security
Virtually every news agency agrees that the number of recipients of Social Security benefits is continually on the rise. With the baby boomer population coming “of age” in terms of receiving benefits, that number is likely to increase into the future. In 2017, statistics collected by the SSA indicate that approximately 67.0 million people received benefits from the various Social Security programs.
About 5.5 million of that number were new to the system. Of the new enrollees, retirees represent approximately 54%, and disabled workers approximately 13%. The balance of 33% is comprised of survivors (usually spouses or children) of deceased disabled workers or retirees.
The 5.5 million new enrollees is made up of new entrants into the system, and also those already in the system, but whose status has changed (for instance, those who become eligible for different benefits, or convert from disabled worker to retired worker).
Average Age of Social Security and Disability
In the same study, the average age of a worker seeking disability benefits was 54.5. In fact, 86% of individuals receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) sought benefits due to either blindness or disability.
In 1960, the Social Security Administration lowered the age at which a disabled worker could receive disability payments. Prior to the change, the average age of a disabled worker was 57.2 years. Since then there has been a growing number of claims by workers under the age of 50. On the other hand, the average age of retirement has remained relatively stable, from 72.4 in 1960 to 73.8 in 2017.
Eligibility for Social Security Benefits
To receive Social Security benefits, the worker needs to have earned at least one work credit for every year after the age of 21, and prior to reaching the age of 62, or before becoming disabled or dying. To be considered “fully insured,” or “permanently insured,” the maximum number of work credits is 40.
In order to be eligible for disability insurance, the employee must be both fully insured and have obtained a minimum of 20 work credits in the immediately preceding 40 calendar quarters.
Gender and Social Security
In the past, men were far more likely to be insured than women. But as an increasing number of women enter the workplace, the gender gap is noticeably shrinking. Since 1970, the number of women who are fully insured increased from 63% to 86% for Social Security benefits, and from 51% to 74% for disability benefits.
Social Security Retiree Benefits vs. Disability Benefits
The rate of awards to retired workers has increased by nearly three times the rate of workers applying for disability benefits. From 1977 to 2017, the rate of increase in number of retirees was 1.6%, or from 1.6 million in 1977 to 3.0 million in 2017. The increase rate for disabled workers was only 0.6%, or from 569,000 in 1977 to 716,000 in 2017.
Taxes on Social Security
In 1984, the federal government encountered a crisis in Social Security funding. As a partial solution, benefits became taxable in some instances – if a recipient earned more than a certain amount of income apart from Social Security, then a portion of the Social Security benefit payment would have to be added to the tax return. While not everyone who receives Social Security has to pay tax, some may end up paying tax on as much as 85% of their benefit.
In 2017, approximately 6% of those receiving Social Security reported earnings that were equal to or more than the maximum amount subject to taxation. This is an increase over the 3% that was reported when the program was initiated.
While analysis of the Social Security Administration’s 2017 study may seem to be an exercise in bean counting, attorneys at the Long Beach office of Cantrell Green keep an eye on such trends and statistics, in order to analyze how our clients may be affected. If you have any questions about Social Security or disability, our attorneys are experienced and knowledgeable, and can advise you as to your best avenues for collecting the benefits you’ve worked for. Call us for a free consultation, and let us help you ensure that you are able to retire as comfortably as possible.
Long Beach Social Security Attorneys
If you or a loved one is unable to work due to a disabling injury, medical condition or disease our skilled and experienced attorneys are here to help you get the maximum Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.
The Law Office of Cantrell Green is a group of highly qualified Social security attorneys who have obtained millions of dollars in Social Security Disability benefits for thousands of clients in Long Beach, Orange County and the greater Los Angeles. Our lawyers care about every client, and fight tirelessly to obtain the benefits you deserve.
Free Long Beach Social Security Attorney Consultation: 800-964-8047