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Who Gets Social Security?

About 61 million people collect Social Security benefits each month, and they account for about one in five people in the United States. In about one family in four, someone is receiving Social Security benefits.

About 42 million retired workers receive benefits and another 3 million individuals receive benefits as spouses or children of retired workers. A total of 6 million people receive benefits as survivors of deceased workers, including 3.7 million aged widows and widowers and 1.9 million children. Another 8.8 million people receive benefits as disabled workers, and 1.8 million people receive benefits as the child or spouse of a disabled worker. A total of 3 million children under age 18 receive Social Security and another 1.1 million adults who have been disabled since childhood get benefits as dependents of a retired, disabled or deceased parent.

Total Beneficiaries: 61,480,790

Social Security Benefits, June 2017
Beneficiaries Number of Beneficiaries Average Monthly Benefit
Retired Workers and their Families 44,951,551  
Retired workers 41,907,870 $1,369
Wives and husbands of retired workers


Children of retired workers 675,661 $659
Survivors of Deceased Workers 6,011,856  
Widows and widowers and parents aged 60 and older 3,721,177 $1,307
Children of deceased workers


Young widows and widowers


Disabled widows and widowers


Disabled Workers and their Families


Disabled workers


Wives and husbands of disabled workers


Children of disabled workers



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In 2016, Social Security paid $911 billion in benefits to retired workers, disabled persons, and dependents of retired, disabled or deceased workers. Of the total benefit payments, 71 percent was paid to retirees and their families, 13 percent to survivors of deceased workers, and 16 percent to disabled workers and their families.

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