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How Social Security Impacts Poverty Levels

Posted on Aug 15, 2013

According to a new analysis of 2011 Census Data by the Economic Policy Institute, Social Security plays a critical role in reducing the rate of poverty across the United States.

The analysis used poverty levels as determined by the United States Census Bureau. The poverty thresholds in 2008 were $10,236 for an elderly individual, $13,014 for an elderly couple, and $22,025 for a family of four. The analysis took these figures and determined that if Social Security were not available, 19.8 million more Americans would be poor.

In the analysis, the majority of the people kept out of poverty because of Social Security were elderly. However, the analysis results showed that almost one-third of people kept out of poverty because of Social Security were under the age of 65, which is the average age of retirement. In addition, 1.1 million children were kept out of poverty because of Social Security programs.

At our Boston Social Security disability law office, we find that this analysis comes at a critical time in the country. With more politicians discussing the potential to cut—or in some cases, cut off—Social Security benefits for a wide range of recipients, reduced payouts could significantly harm the nation and people who need benefits the most. If benefits were reduced or eliminated, it may mean getting the benefits necessary to live above the poverty line with disabilities could become significantly more difficult.

With an increasing number of Americans becoming insecure over where they will get their next meal, the analysis demonstrates the critical need for Social Security in Massachusetts and across the United States.

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law