Publish date:

Retirement Research: Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2020

Did you know that 69.1 million people received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration in 2019 and 5.7 million people were newly awarded Social Security benefits in 2019.

Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2020 

Did you know that...

  • 69.1 million people received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2019.
  • 5.7 million people were newly awarded Social Security benefits in 2019. 
  • 55%of adult Social Security beneficiaries in 2019 were women. 
  • 54.9 was the average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries in 2019. 
  • 86% of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients received payments because of disability or blindness in 2019.

For more fast fact and figures about Social Security, read

How Accurate Are Retirees’ Assessments of Their Retirement Risk?


Retirees with limited financial resources face numerous risks, including out-living their money (longevity risk), investment losses (market risk), unexpected health expenses (health risk), the unforeseen needs of family members (family risk), and even retirement benefit cuts (policy risk). 

This study systematically values and ranks the financial impacts of these risks from both the objective and subjective perspectives and then compares them to show the gaps between retirees’ actual risks and their perceptions of the risks in a unified framework. 

It finds that 1) under the empirical analysis, the greatest risk is longevity risk, followed by health risk; 2) under the subjective analysis, retirees perceive market risk as the highest-ranking risk due to their exaggeration of market volatility; and 3) the longevity risk and health risk are valued less in the subjective ranking than in the objective ranking, because retirees underestimate their life spans and their health costs in late life. 


The Impact of COVID-19 of Social Security and its Beneficiaries

The family experience in long-term care during the COVID-19 visitation restriction

2019 Profile of Older Americans

Health Care Spending and the Medicare Program: A Data Book

New Financial Instruments for Managing Longevity Risk

Medicare Beneficiary Use of Telehealth Visits: Early Data From the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Does Immigration Improve Quality of Care in Nursing Homes?

Home Modification and Repairs for Older Adults: Challenges and Opportunities for State Units on Aging

Auto-Enrollment Retirement Plans for the People: Choices and Outcomes in OregonSaves

State-sponsored Pensions for Private Sector Workers: The Case for Pooled Annuities and Tontines

MRDRC Newsletter (Vol. 20, No. 2, July 2020)

Quantifying and explaining variation in life expectancy at census tract, county, and state levels in the United States

Economic Crises and Mortality Among the Elderly: Evidence from Two Russian Crises

The Impact of Social Security on Pension Claiming and Retirement: Active vs. Passive Decisions

Annual Survey of Investment Regulation of Pension Funds and Other Pension Providers 2020

Health of Former Cigarette Smokers Aged 65 and Over: United States, 2018

CMS Could Have Saved $192 Million by Targeting Home Health Claims for Review With Visits Slightly Above the Threshold That Triggers a Higher Medicare Payment

Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle

Disability-Free Life Trends at Older Ages: Implications for Longevity Risk Management

Introduction: New Models for Managing Longevity Risk: Public/Private Partnerships

Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases on Nursing Homes: Final Report

Cumulative disparities in the dynamics of working poverty for later-career U.S. workers (2002-2012)

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Seniors: A Look at Racial Health Disparities

Do Older Workers Without Benefits Find Health and Retirement Coverage?

Millions of Adults Ages 50 and Older Rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Relabeling, Retirement and Regret

Gaps, Quirks and Fixes: Accounting for Broader Public-Sector Pension Plans in Canada

OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County, 2019

SSI Monthly Statistics, June 2020

How Could the Price of Remdesivir Impact Medicare Spending for COVID-19 Patients?

Selected Financial Burdens of Health Care Among Families With Older Adults, by Family Composition: United States, 2017–2018

Loneliness and Social Isolation in the Covid-19 Pandemic Among The Over 70s: Data From The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and Alone

Exploring the Relationship between Care Homes and Excess Deaths in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Italy

The Association Between Educational Attainment and Longevity using Individual Level Data from the 1940 Census

Social Security Reforms and the Changing Retirement Behavior in Germany

Linking Changes in Inequality in Life Expectancy and Mortality: Evidence from Denmark and the United States

Does the Actuarial Adjustment for Pension Delay Affect Retirement and Claiming Decisions?

Predicting mortality from 57 economic, behavioral, social, and psychological factors

Shingles Vaccination Among Adults Aged 60 and Over: United States, 2018

Intergenerational Residence Patterns and COVID-19 Fatalities in the EU and the US

Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the United States

Concerns of older patients and their caregivers in the emergency department

Main and interacting effects of physical activity and sedentary time on older adults’ BMI: The moderating roles of socio-demographic and environmental attributes

Lockdown not shutdown – How can we unlock the longevity dividend post-pandemic?

Comparing Private Payer and Medicare Payment Rates for Select Inpatient Hospital Services

Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018

Loophole in Drug Payment Rule Continues To Cost Medicare and Beneficiaries Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

– US Department of Health and Human Service, Office of Inspector General Report – July 9, 2020

Is Nontraditional Work At Older Ages Associated With Better Retirement Security?

New Insights on Self-Employment of Older Adults in the United States

What Jobs Do Employers Want Older Workers to Do?

Coronavirus and the impact on caring

Health and ageing of Australia’s prisoners 2018

Older People are Less Pessimistic about the Health Risks of Covid-19

Variation in Health Care Prices Across Public and Private Payers

Physician Characteristics and Patient Survival: Evidence from Physician Availability

How Widespread Unemployment Might Affect Retirement Security

Association of Statin Use With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality in US Veterans 75 Years and Older

Effect of Probiotic Use on Antibiotic Administration Among Care Home Residents: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Self-awareness for financial decision-making abilities in healthy adults

Elderly people and responses to COVID-19 in 27 Countries

Long-term care and COVID-19: International comparisons

What older adults do with the results of dementia screening programs

Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2020 

Did you know that...

  • 69.1 million people received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2019.
Member Exclusive

Get Access to Our Exclusive Content