This Thanksgiving, more than 24.0 million Americans, will undoubtedly be thankful for three critical social insurance programs that helped keep them out of poverty in 2010: Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation.
Although the Great Recession officially ended more than two years ago, millions of people still struggle to make ends meet and will continue to do so this holiday season. October 2011 marked the 32ndconsecutive month that more than one out of every 12 persons is unemployed and looking for work. Additionally, more than one in seven people, including nearly two in nine children, lived in poverty in 2010. But thanks to these three social insurance programs, the number of Americans living in poverty is more than 24.0 million less than it would have been without them.
Working together, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation kept more than 24.0 million people out of poverty in 2010, including:
- Nearly 2.0 million children;
- Nearly 8.0 million non-elderly adults;
- Nearly 14.1 million elderly adults aged 65+.
Social Security alone lifted nearly 20.2 million people out of poverty in 2010, including:
- Nearly 1.1 million children;
- Nearly 5.4 million non-elderly adults;
- Nearly 13.9 million elderly adults aged 65+. Benefits lowered the elderly adult poverty rate from 44 percent to just nine percent.
Unemployment insurance alone lifted nearly 3.2 million people out of poverty in 2010, including:
- More than 860,000 children;
- Nearly 2.3 million non-elderly adults;
- 71,000 elderly adults aged 65+.
Worker’s compensation alone lifted 128,000 people out of poverty in 2010, including:
- Nearly 100,000 non-elderly adults.
To learn more about how some of these programs help millions of people and families, you can:
 NASI calculations based on U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement (2011) (using CPS Table Creator IIhttp://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstc/apm/ cpstc_altpov.html. Individual program numbers do not equal total because some people relied on more than one program to raise household income above the poverty threshold.