Social Security continues to play vital role in reducing poverty in West Virginia. According to the latest Census data, in 2014-2015 there were approximately 318,000 West Virginians living in poverty, including 40,000 seniors. Without Social Security, 132,000 more West Virginians would live in poverty.
Most people aged 65 and older receive the majority of their income from Social Security. Without Social Security benefits, 52% of elderly West Virginians would have incomes below the official poverty line, all else being equal; with Social Security benefits, only 12% do. These benefits lift 132,000 elderly West Virginians above the poverty line.
Nationally, Social Security lifted more than 1 million children out of poverty. About 6.5 million children under age 18 (9 percent of all U.S. children) lived in families that received income from Social Security in 2015, according to Census data. This figure includes children who received their own benefits as dependents of retired, disabled, or deceased workers, as well as those who lived with parents or relatives who received Social Security. In all, Social Security lifts 1.1 million children out of poverty.
For more information, and to see how Social Security reduced poverty in all 50 states, check out this blog post from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
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