In December 2000, 45,414,800 persons received Social Security benefits, an increase of 819,200 (1.8 percent) since December 1999, compared with an increase of 0.8 percent in the preceding year. This significant increase is related to the elimination of the earnings test in 2000 for persons who have reached the full retirement age.
The number of retired workers increased by more than 700,000 in 2000 (2.6 percent), compared with an increase of 1.0 percent in 1999. The 28,499,000 retired workers represented 63 percent of all beneficiaries in December 2000. Another 10 percent were nondisabled widows and widowers (4,700,000).
Seventy-one percent of the 28.5 million retiredworker beneficiaries received reduced benefits because of retirement prior to age 65. Relatively more women (75 percent) than men (68 percent) received reduced benefits.
The number of persons aged 65 or older receiving Social Security benefits rose from 31.4 million in 1995 to 32.7 million in 2000 (4.0 percent). Beneficiaries aged 85 or older increased at a greater rate during the 5-year period (12.8 percent) from 3,576,000 in 1995 to 4,034,000 in 2000. In 2000, 39,500 centenarians were receiving Social Security.
More than 19 million women aged 65 or older were receiving benefits in December 2000. Seven million (36.4 percent) were entitled solely to a retired-worker benefit, and another 5.5 million (28.9 percent) were dually entitled to a retired-worker benefit and a wife's or widow's benefit. About 6.6 million (34.7 percent) were receiving wife's or widow's benefits only.
Almost 3 million children under age 18 were receiving benefits, including 1,346,100 children of deceased workers, 1,374,400 children of disabled workers, and 255,900 children of retired workers. In December 2000, 5,972,400 beneficiaries were receiving payments on the basis of disability5,042,300 disabled workers, 728,700 disabled adult children, and 201,400 disabled widows and widowers. In addition, 1165,1100 spouses and 1,409,200 minor and student children of disabled workers were receiving benefits.
The leading causes of disability for disabled workers were mental disorders other than mental retardation (27 percent), and musculoskeletal conditions (23 percent). About 11 percent had circulatory conditions and an additional 10 percent had diseases of the nervous system and sense organs.
Average monthly benefits for December 2000, including the 3.5 percent COLA increase, were $845 for retired workers, $786 for disabled workers, and $810 for nondisabled widows and widowers. Among retired workers, benefits averaged $951 for men and $730 for women. For disabled workers, average benefits were $883 for men and $661 for women.
Average monthly family benefits for December 2000 were $1,502 for a widowed mother or father and children; $1,323 for a disabled worker, wife, and children; and $1,640 for a retired worker, wife, and children.
Total OASDI benefit payments for calendar year 2000 were $407.6 billion. Payments from the OAS[ trust fund were $352.7 billion-an increase of 5.5 percent from the $334.4 billion paid in 1999. Benefit payments from the DI trust fund, from which benefits are paid to disabled workers, their spouses, and children, increased by 7. …