Millions of Americans count on Social Security for most of their income. AARP DataExplorer’s new storybook on Social Security shows, using graphics and animation, just how important Social Security is to all Americans.
Social Security has a minimum benefit? Yes, it’s true. Congress designed the Social Security special minimum benefit in 1972 to help workers who have earned low wages for many years. But today, the benefit helps very few older Americans and unless Congress takes action, the benefit is on the road to extinction.
Social Security provides a financial lifeline that is especially important for older women. U.S. Census Bureau data show that, in 2011, 26.5 percent of older women (compared with 20 percent for older men) relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their family income.
In the early 1930s, before Social Security was created, many older Americans were destitute or depended on help from family and friends for basic needs like food and shelter.
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