Who Never Receives Social Security Benefits?
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 2, pp. 17-24, 2011
8 Pages Posted: 12 May 2011 Last revised: 25 Apr 2015
Date Written: May 5, 2011
We estimate that about 4 percent of individuals aged 62–84 in 2010 will never receive Social Security benefits. This article describes the prevalence, demographic characteristics, and economic well-being of this group. The never-beneficiary population generally has lower education levels and higher proportions of women, Hispanics, immigrants, the never-married, and widows than the beneficiary population. Never-beneficiaries have a far higher poverty rate (about 44 percent) than current and future beneficiaries (about 4 percent). Ninety-five percent of never-beneficiaries are individuals whose earnings histories are insufficient to qualify for benefits. Late-arriving immigrants and infrequent workers comprise the vast majority of these insufficient earners. Late-arriving immigrants have a poverty rate of about 43 percent, and are particularly reliant on income from household coresidents. Infrequent workers have a poverty rate of about 57 percent, and are particularly reliant on Supplemental Security Income.
Keywords: Social Security, poverty, retirement, immigrants
JEL Classification: H55, J14, J26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation