Holes in the Safety Net: Social Security and the True Cost of Living for Seniors

The research reported here indicates that older people are facing more difficult economic circumstances than was previously thought, and are likely to become even more challenging in the future.

Older Americans in every part of the country depend on Social Security benefits to help make ends meet. But just how far do those payments go toward covering the basic cost of living?

The answer varies a great deal on the personal circumstances of individuals. But it also depends significantly upon where seniors live, according to Jan Mutchler, a UMass Boston professor who leads the Gerontology Institute’s Center for Social & Demographic Research on Aging.

This is an important economic issue for seniors because Social Security provides such a large portion of total income for most beneficiaries. A third of those beneficiaries receive 90 percent of their income from Social Security. Three of every five depend on the benefit for at least half of their income.

– The Gerontology Institute

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