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Who Gets Social Security?

About 59 million people collect Social Security benefits each month, and they account for about one in six people in the United States. In about one family in four, someone is receiving Social Security benefits.

About 39 million retired workers receive benefits and another 2.9 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 3.8 million aged widows and widowers and 1.8 million children. Another 8.9 million people receive benefits as disabled workers, and 1.9 million people receive benefits as the child or spouse of a disabled worker. A total of 3.1 million children under age 18 receive Social Security and another 1.0 million adults who have been disabled since childhood get benefits as dependents of a retired, disabled or deceased parent.

Total Beneficiaries: 59,496,533

Social Security Benefits, July 31, 2015
Beneficiaries Number of Beneficiaries Average Monthly Benefit
Retired Workers and their Families 42,625,975  
Retired workers 39,683,323 $1,336
Wives and husbands of retired workers 2,313,343 $682
Children of retired workers 629,309 $648
Survivors of Deceased Workers 6,049,587  
Widows and widowers and parents aged 60 and older 3,801,265 $1,282
Children of deceased workers 1,849,962 $831
Young widows and widowers 137,865 $940
Disabled widows and widowers 259,218 $721
Disabled Workers and their Families 10,820,971  
Disabled workers 8,930,839 $1,165
Wives and husbands of disabled workers 144,309 $318
Children of disabled workers 1,745,823 $349

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In 2014, Social Security paid $848 billion in benefits to retired workers, disabled persons, and dependents of retired, disabled or deceased workers. Of the total benefit payments, 70 percent was paid to retirees and their families, 13 percent to survivors of deceased workers, and 17 percent to disabled workers and their families.

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