AARP: Minorities get more benefit from Social Security

Minority populations are more likely to rely on Social Security as their only source of retirement benefits, according to various studies by the AARP.

Latinos, for example, find Social Security to be a critical source of income because of their socioeconomic condition, longer life expenctancies, and higher rates of disbaility.

Latinos represent a large portion of the working class, particularly seasonal employees, where workplace injuries tend to be more common, so workplace disability is a much more common need. According to the AARP, increasing the retirement age for Social Security would impose a significant financial burden on Latinos who retire early due to work-related health issues.

African Americans face a similar need for Social Security. In a 2009 study, 36.6 percent of African Americans reported that Social Security will be their major source of retirement income, compared to just 26.5 percent of whites. That percentage actually represents a slight increase from the last time a similar survey was conducted, indicating an increased reliance on Social Security for retirement income (though this reliance was present for both African Americans and whites).

Other findings from the minority primers include:

  • Almost half of all older Latinos would live in poverty without Social Security benefits; 25 percent of Latino men and 27 percent of Latinas aged 65 or older relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their family income.
  • One of every five children (nearly 21 percent) who receive Social Security disability benefits is African American, although they are only 15 percent of all children in the United States.
  • According to current estimates, a Latino man who is age 65 today is expected to live to be 85, compared to 82 for all non-Latino men, and a Latina woman who is age 65 today is expected to live to 89, compared to 85 for all non-Latina women. This makes annual COLA increases even more important for Latinos.
  • Nearly three of every four white beneficiaries (74 percent), but about half of black beneficiaries (55 percent), receive Social Security retirement benefits. This difference reflects not only the greater likelihood that African Americans receive disability and survivor benefits but also, in part, the shorter life expectancy of African Americans. In addition, black beneficiaries on average receive smaller monthly retirement benefit payments than do whites.

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