How Much Social Security Does the Average Person Receive?


When all Social Security recipients are taken into account, the average monthly benefit in 2022 with the cost of living adjustment (COLA) is $1,657. However, as is often the case when using a single average for the entire population, there is a lot of nuance missing here. As a result, we decided to examine how much people receive in Social Security benefits not just as a single average, but by different types of populations and benefits.

The total number of people receiving these types of benefits exceeds 65 million. The majority of those receiving Old-Age and Survivors Insurance are spouses and children of retired workers. Those receiving disability insurance form a smaller subset, which may also include spouses and children.


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Remember that the Social Security Administration is increasing benefits for 2022, but the data used by GOBankingRates is from the most recent SSA Monthly Statistics Snapshot, which was released in November 2021. As a result, the snapshot figures are slightly lower because they do not include the 2022 COLA.


Insurance for the Elderly and Survivors

Old-Age and Survivors Insurance covers the vast majority of Social Security recipients. In fact, this group accounts for nearly 86 percent of all Social Security recipients, or just under 56 million people. Of course, with such a large group comes a large payout — each month, more than $83 billion is paid out to Old-Age and Survivors Insurance recipients. The monthly benefit is on average $1,490.85.

However, even this figure may be insufficient. After all, the majority of us will be focused on retired workers, which is a subset of all retirement benefits. There were 47,248,000 retired workers receiving nearly $74 billion per month as of the November 2021 snapshot. This equates to a monthly benefit of $1,563.82 per worker.

The overall average is lower, however, because it includes spouses and children of retired workers. Spouses of retired workers, who account for 3.3 percent of all retirement benefit recipients, are eligible for “up to half” of the worker’s primary insurance amount. As a result, spouses receive an average of $793.59 per month, for a total monthly payout of $1.73 billion.

In addition to retirement benefits, those receiving survivor benefits are included in this category. While this group is smaller, with a total of 5.86 million recipients, it is divided into several distinct groups. Survivor benefits average $1,250.46 per month, for a total payout of $7.3 billion.


All of the following groups are eligible for survivor benefits:

  • Children of deceased employees
  • Mothers and fathers who are widowed
  • Widow(er)s who aren’t disabled
  • Widow(er)s who are disabled
  • Parents of deceased employees
  • The children of deceased workers and nondisabled widow(er)s receive the majority of survivor benefits. Children of deceased workers account for 3% of beneficiaries, receiving an average of $923.05. The total monthly payout is $1.8 billion. Nondisabled widow(er)s account for 5.5 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries, with an average monthly benefit of $1,467.14. Every month, they pay out a total of $5.2 billion.


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Insurance for Disabilities

The Social Security Administration also pays out Disability Insurance benefits. Despite being a much smaller group, it still includes more than 9 million recipients across the country. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both types of disability insurance. While these are two separate programmes, the SSA notes that the medical requirements are the same.

When all disability insurance benefits are considered, the average monthly payout is $1,154.07. This group accounts for 14.2 percent of Social Security recipients, while it accounts for 85.8 percent of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance recipients.


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Disabled workers, as well as their spouses and children, are covered under disability insurance. Disabled workers, of course, receive the highest monthly benefit, with an average payout of $1,282.39. They also make up the majority of disability insurance recipients, accounting for 12.1 percent of all Social Security recipients. Their monthly payout totals $10.1 billion.

Children of disabled workers receive the majority of the remaining funds, accounting for 1.9 percent of all recipients. Their average monthly benefit is $403.37, for a total monthly payout of $504 million. Spouses account for only 0.1 percent of Social Security recipients. Their monthly benefit is $357.24 on average, for a total payout of $35 million.

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