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The First Step in Retirement Income Planning


Get Ready for Retirement

One of the most important things you can do in planning for retirement is to understand your Social Security benefits. For the majority of people in the United States, Social Security remains a major source of retirement income.

In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, for approximately 61% of Americans, Social Security provides at least half of their total income during their retirement years.1


What Is Social Security?

Initially, Social Security benefits were designed to pay a single lump-sum payment. Then, in 1940, monthly payments were implemented. Ever since, Social Security has been evolving.

The first monthly check was issued to Ida Mae Fuller in 1940 for $22.54. Over the course of two years, she had contributed only $24.75 to the program.2

In 2016, nearly 61 million Americans received $918 billion in annual Social Security benefits—and not just retirement benefits.3 In its current form, Social Security is a collection of programs that include:

  • Retirement benefits
  • Disability benefits
  • Survivors benefits
  • A lump-sum death benefit


Average Monthly Benefit

The average monthly Social Security benefit received today depends on who's receiving it.

2017 Estimated Average Monthly Benefit
All retired workers $1,360
Aged couple, both receiving Social Security $2,260
Widowed mother and 2 children $2,695
Aged widow(er) alone $1,300
Disabled worker, spouse, and one or more children $1,996
All disabled workers $1,171
Estimated amounts include cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
Source: Social Security Administration Fact Sheet, 2016.

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1Source:, Fast Facts & Figures, 2016
2Source:, Social Security History, 2016
3Source:, Basic Facts 2016