Social Security's Critical Role

Brad Plumer explains at the Washington Post that today "the trustees for Social Security and Medicare will release their reports on the state of finances for these two retirement programs. And there will be plenty of discussion on whether the programs are in crisis or blowing up the deficit or whatnot. But it’s worth taking a step back and looking at what they actually do."

For more than one quarter of all retirement-age Americans, Social security benefits provide 90% or more of income. Fully half of retired Americans get more than 50% of their income from Social Security, as the chart below shows:

And the Social Security program provides much more than retirement benefits. Among other things, it provides a safety net for disabled workers and insurance to children and adults when their breadwinning parents and spouses become disabled or die. Read the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' "Top Ten Facts About Social Security" to learn more.