How Many Seniors Live Only On Social Security?

How Many Seniors Live Only On Social Security

Many elderly people want to use Social Security for their retirement savings and income, but it may not be enough to live comfortably depending on your location and expenses.

According to a new study, 40% of senior Americans live only on Social Security income after retiring. If you're approaching retirement and intend to rely solely on Social Security, you must have a strategy in place.

Who Depends Mostly On Social Security?

A recent study proved that living solely on Social Security is not a viable option for seniors. As the executive director of the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) explains, the United States is on a 'treacherous path' with its proposals to reduce pensions and cut Social Security benefits for the elderly.

Based on a Gallup poll conducted in 2019, 57% of retirees rely on Social Security as a major source of income, compared to 33% of near-retirees who expect Social Security to be their major source of income after retiring.

How To Retire Comfortably With Your Social Security Pension

Some people plan to work until retirement, which can help them enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle. On the other hand, seniors with lower income say it's more difficult to get by, and saving for retirement is difficult.

If you’re planning to live a comfortable life with only Social Security as your source of income, these strategies can assist you.

1. Wait To Start Social Security

Those born in 1960 or later can retire at the age of 67. As early as age 62, you can begin receiving Social Security benefits, but your benefits will be reduced with each passing year.

When you reach full retirement age, which varies from 66 to 67 depending on your birth year, you are entitled to 100% of your benefits. Each year after that, up to the age of 70, your benefits increase by 8%, meaning you can access 32% more at 70 than at 66.

2. Downsize Your Home 

Housing expenses can quickly deplete your Social Security benefits. Moving to a lower-cost home can significantly reduce your monthly cash flow. If you have a mortgage on your home, aim to pay it off by the time you retire.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people aged 65 to 74 spend approximately 34% of their annual household income on housing. For those aged 75 and up, the figure rises to 36.2%.

3. Cut Expenses

Aside from making your housing more affordable, the next stage is to cut back on the cost of your utilities, transportation, and food.

Is it possible, for example, to opt-out of cable TV in favor of online streaming services? If you own two cars, would you be able to sell one of them? These are difficult decisions to make, but they will make your transition to Social Security benefits much easier in the long run.


Relying solely on Social Security for retirement is not ideal. Think about ways to increase your retirement savings if you still have time before retiring.

Start by contributing as much as you can to your employer's retirement plan, if one exists, especially if it offers a match. Check out other forms of financial help for seniors who can’t live on their SS benefits.

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