More than 51 million American retirees or their survivors collected Social Security benefits last year, according to the Social Security Administration. Those payments function as the foundation for their economic security during retirement, providing 90% or more of the income of almost one-third of those beneficiaries and the majority of the cash income for about 60% of them, according to a new report from the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC).
The report, “Social Security: A Promise to American Workers and Families,” focuses not only the benefits to recipients who depend on those payments but also the broader economic costs of reducing them, which has been a priority for the Republican leadership in Congress. Democratic members of Congress expect Republicans will continue to push for those cuts especially because the U.S. deficit is expected to grow by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years as a result of the recent tax cut legislation.
“Slashing Social Security would not only have a negative impact on beneficiaries and their families, but have a devastating impact on the economy as a whole,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., ranking member of the JEC, in a statement accompanying the release of the report.
According to the report, Social Security supports about $1.4 trillion in goods and services in the U.S. economy, accounting for more than 9 million jobs nationwide. Reducing benefits by 25% across the board would cost $349 billion in economic output, 2.3 million jobs and about $83 billion in employee compensation, the report notes, adding that such cuts would also put pressure on the families of beneficiaries to make up the difference.
In the gallery above are the 10 states with the most Social Security recipients and their average monthly benefit.
— Check out 10 States Whose Residents Pay the Most Federal Taxes on ThinkAdvisor.