Center on Budget & Policy Priorities - Social Security lifted 22 million people out of poverty last year, our new analysis of Census data finds. Social Security’s anti-poverty effect extends to every state, lifting more than 1 million elderly people out of poverty in California, Florida, and Texas, our 50-state analysis shows.
Without Social Security benefits, 41 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the official poverty line, all else being equal. With Social Security, only 9 percent do.
Social Security is also important for non-elderly adults and children. It lifted more than 1 million children from poverty in 2015. Some of these children receive benefits because a parent died, became disabled, or retired; others live with relatives who receive Social Security.
Given the program’s powerful anti-poverty impact, cuts in Social Security benefits could significantly raise poverty — particularly among the elderly and the disabled — depending on their design.