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Social Security Generates Billions in Economic Activity, Supports 142,000 Kentucky Jobs

New Study Shows How Critical Social Security Benefits Are in Kentucky and National Economies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new study from the AARP Public Policy Institute calculates that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries in Kentucky generates nearly two dollars in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $20.3 billion in total economic output to Kentucky’s economy – and about $1.4 trillion to the national economy – in 2012. The report also finds the $12.1 billion paid in Social Security benefits in 2012 helped Kentuckians keep or find more than 142,000 jobs.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy details the powerful multiplier effect created when Social Security recipients spend their benefits and the companies which receive those dollars spend their profits and pay their employees, who in turn spend their wages. The report provides both national and state-level data.

AARP Kentucky volunteers and staff have visited the district offices of Kentucky’s Members of Congress this week to deliver the report, along with petitions representing 29,489 Kentuckians who are concerned about proposals to cut Social Security benefits by adopting the chained CPI in any budget or deficit reduction deal.

“This report tells us that any adjustments Washington makes to Social Security will have a profound effect on individuals of all ages, businesses and our economy as a whole,” said AARP Kentucky State President Jim Kimbrough.

“That’s why AARP is fighting the chained CPI and calling for a national conversation about the future of Social Security – so those who paid into the system can have a voice in the debate and so future generations get the benefits they’ve earned.”

Social Security benefit payments in 2012 supported more than $370 billion in salaries, wages and compensation for workers across the country. Of the more than nine million jobs supported by Social Security spending, about four million were in just ten industries. Nationally, the largest employment impacts were seen in the food services, real estate, health care and retail industries.

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In addition to illustrating Social Security’s vital role in supporting national and local economies, jobs and workers’ incomes, this report reiterates the importance of Social Security as a vital source of income for millions of Americans. Social Security benefits keep 22 million people out of poverty, including more than 15 million older Americans, and serve as the foundation of a secure retirement for millions more. A total of 92 percent, or 564,601, of older Kentucky residents received Social Security in 2012. The average annual benefit was $14,100.

Social Security’s Impact on the National Economy uses an economic modeling system known as IMPLAN to calculate the multiplier effect and trace the impact of Social Security spending through the national and state economies. View the full report and details on methodology here:

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