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Social Security Is Worth $225,000 for a Typical Retiree
Date:1/31/2008

Experts Assess the Value to Retirees, Working Families, and Communities of Color

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For most Americans, the value of their Social Security is the biggest accumulation of dollars they will take into retirement. In fact, for two-thirds of recipients over the age of 65, Social Security is more than half of their income during retirement, according to a new report released today by the non-partisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI).

The report, Social Security: An Essential Asset and Insurance Protection for All, details Social Security's vital role in safeguarding Americans families and retirees, with a particular focus on groups at high risk of having inadequate incomes -- older women, African American families, and the Latino community. The report synthesizes findings from research and outreach activities by twelve organizations funded by the Ford Foundation.

The average monthly benefit for retirees is $1,045 in 2007. A 65-year old who wanted to buy a guaranteed income of that size -- with payments that go up with the cost of living and continue for a widowed spouse -- would need to pay an insurance company about $225,000.

And it's not just retirees who benefit from Social Security's protection. Although 69% of Social Security benefits go to retired persons, 17% go to disabled workers and their families, and another 14% to goes survivors.

The value of the disability benefits for disabled workers -- those who cannot work at any job for at least a year because of physical or mental illness and impairments -- was the equivalent of purchasing a $414,000 disability insurance policy in 2006. That represents the total benefits available to a 30-year old worker who becomes disabled after earning between $25,000 and $30,000 a year, has a 28 year-old spouse, a child age two and an infant under the age of one.

Social Security also provides life insurance protection
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SOURCE National Academy of Social Insurance
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