The Important Thing to Remember About Social Security’s Average Retirement Benefit

Two Social Security cards laid atop parts of a hundred dollar bill.

Sean Williams | Source: The Motley Fool

In terms of importance, Social Security simply is unparalleled. Each month, over 62 million eligible beneficiaries receive a benefit check from the Social Security Administration (SSA), and nearly 43 million of them are retired workers. According to an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, this guaranteed monthly payout has been responsible for keeping over 22 million people above the federal poverty line, including just over 15 million seniors.

Furthermore, data from the Social Security Administration demonstrates just how reliant senior citizens are on the program to make ends meet. Out of close to 43 million retired workers receiving benefits, 62% lean on their monthly checks for at least half of their income, while 34% rely on Social Security for virtually all of it (90% to 100%).

Variables specific to your payout are what really matter

Yet here’s the interesting thing about Social Security: The average retirement benefit isn’t all that impressive. The April 2018 snapshot from the Social Security Administration shows that the average retired worker is taking home $1,411.07 per month, or approximately $16,933 a year. Yes, this is higher than the federal poverty level in 2018, but not by all that much.

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