Highlights and Trends
Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance)
Employment and Earnings
|Workers in OASDI covered employment, 2019||177.9 million|
|Average earnings, 2019||$51,822|
|Earnings required in 2020 for—|
|1 quarter of coverage||$1,410|
|Maximum of 4 quarters of coverage||$5,640|
|Earnings test exempt amounts for 2020|
|Under full retirement age for entire year||$18,240|
|For months before reaching full retirement age in 2020||$48,600|
|Beginning with month of reaching full retirement age in 2020||Test eliminated|
|Cost-of-living adjustment for December 2019||1.6 percent|
|Average monthly benefit, December 2019|
|Widows and widowers, nondisabled||$1,423|
|Number of beneficiaries, December 2019|
|Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance||64.1 million|
|Retired workers||45.1 million|
|Widows and widowers, nondisabled||3.6 million|
|Disabled workers||8.4 million|
|Benefit payments, 2019|
|Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance||$1,047.9 billion|
|Old-Age and Survivors Insurance||$902.8 billion|
|Disability Insurance||$145.1 billion|
|Administrative expenses, 2019|
|Old-Age and Survivors Insurance|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||0.4 percent|
|As a percentage of total benefits paid||1.9 percent|
- About 64.1 million persons received Social Security benefits for December 2019, an increase of 1,158,274 (1.8 percent) since December 2018. Approximately 75 percent were retired workers and their spouses and children, 9 percent were survivors of deceased workers, and 16 percent were disabled workers and their spouses and children.
- Sixty-seven percent of the 45.1 million retired workers received reduced benefits because of entitlement prior to full retirement age. Relatively more women (70.3 percent) than men (64.3 percent) received reduced benefits.
- The number of beneficiaries aged 65 or older rose from about 42.0 million in 2014 to about 48.6 million in 2019 (15.6 percent). The number of beneficiaries aged 85 or older increased by about 4.0 percent during the 5-year period from about 5.6 million in 2014 to about 5.8 million in 2019. In 2019, about 70,000 centenarians were Social Security beneficiaries.
- About 26.8 million women aged 65 or older received benefits for December 2019. About 14.7 million (54.9 percent) were entitled solely to a retired-worker benefit. About 6.8 million (25.2 percent) were dually entitled to a retired-worker benefit and a wife's or widow's benefit, and about 5.3 million (19.6 percent) were receiving wife's or widow's benefits only.
- About 2.8 million children under age 18 received benefits, including 1,184,943 children of deceased workers, 1,269,566 children of disabled workers, and 343,125 children of retired workers.
- About 9.8 million persons received benefits based on disability—8,378,374 disabled workers, 1,140,580 disabled adult children, and 246,142 disabled widows and widowers. In addition, 113,435 spouses and 1,311,187 minor and student children of disabled workers received benefits.
- Average monthly benefits for December 2019, including the 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment, were $1,503 for retired workers, $1,258 for disabled workers, and $1,423 for nondisabled widows and widowers. Among retired workers, monthly benefits averaged $1,671 for men and $1,337 for women. For disabled workers, average monthly benefits were $1,384 for men and $1,128 for women.
- Average monthly family benefits for December 2019 were $2,566 for a widowed mother or father and children; $2,221 for a disabled worker, wife, and children; and $3,117 for a retired worker, wife, and children.
- Total OASDI benefit payments for calendar year 2019 were $1,047.9 billion. Payments from the OASI trust fund were $902.8 billion—an increase of 6.9 percent from the $844.9 billion paid in 2018.
- Benefit payments from the DI trust fund, from which benefits are paid to disabled workers, their spouses, and children, increased by 1.0 percent from $143.7 billion in 2018 to $145.1 billion in 2019.
- OASDI benefit awards in calendar year 2019 totaled 5,699,565, including 3,174,673 to retired workers, 624,752 to their spouses and children, and 885,500 to survivors of insured workers. Benefits were awarded to 679,449 disabled workers and to 335,191 of their spouses and children.
Supplemental Security Income
Annual Payment Adjustments
|Monthly federal benefit rate, effective January 2020|
|Individual living in his or her own household||$783|
|Couple with both members eligible||$1,175|
|Cost-of-living adjustment||1.6 percent|
|Federally administered payments|
|Benefits paid in 2019||$55.9 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2019||8.1 million|
|Average benefit, December 2019||$565.69|
|Federal SSI payments|
|Benefits paid in 2019||$53.3 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2019||7.9 million|
|Average benefit, December 2019||$549.61|
|Federally administered state supplementation|
|Benefits paid in 2019||$2.6 billion|
|Number of recipients, December 2019||a 1.5 million|
|Average benefit, December 2019||$145.39|
|a. Includes more than 1.3 million persons receiving federal SSI and state supplementation and almost 150,000 persons receiving state supplementation only.|
- In December 2019, 8,076,867 persons received federally administered SSI payments—51,785 fewer than the previous year. Of the total, 2,298,228 (28.5 percent) were aged 65 or older; 4,646,559 (57.5 percent) were blind or disabled aged 18–64; and 1,132,080 (14.0 percent) were blind or disabled under age 18.
- The number of blind or disabled aged 18–64 declined by 67,675 (1.4 percent) between December 2018 and December 2019, and the number under age 18 decreased by 15,958 (1.4 percent).
- During 2019, 721,593 persons were awarded federally administered payments, an increase of 3,524 from the previous year. Of the 2019 awards, 461,553 went to blind or disabled recipients aged 18–64, 160,328 to those blind or disabled under age 18, and 99,712 to recipients aged 65 or older.
- Total federally administered SSI payments were $55.9 billion in 2019, up 1.8 percent from 2018. Federal SSI payments in 2019 were $53.3 billion (an increase of 2.0 percent over the previous year). Federally administered state supplementation totaled $2.6 billion.
|Weighted average poverty thresholds, 2019|
|Individual, aged 65 or older||$12,261|
|Couple, householder aged 65 or older||$15,468|
|Family of four||$26,172|