Granite Staters earn Social Security benefits through a lifetime of hard work. But the program is facing long-term financial challenges as the overall population ages and contributions aren’t keeping up with longer life expectancies. And while Medicare provides guaranteed affordable health care, the program’s challenges include rising health care costs and a growing number of people entering the program.
“That is why the future of Social Security and Medicare were key battleground issues in the 2012 elections,” said AARP New Hampshire State Director Kelly Clark. “The President and Congress may well determine the future of these vital programs.”
Test your knowledge of the impact of Social Security and Medicare with these interesting facts.
Social Security pumps over $3 billion into New Hampshire’s economy each year. That’s nearly $250 million of critical aid each month to New Hampshire families.
Many Granite Staters would have almost no income without Social Security. One in five over the age of 65 relies on Social Security for over 90% of their income and three in ten rely on Social Security as their only source of income.
Social Security is a foundation of retirement for the middle class. Six in ten over the age of 65 depend on Social Security for 50% of their income.
The average annual Social Security benefit in New Hampshire is $14,542. Nearly all seniors – 245,752 – received Social Security benefits in 2010.
Social Security lifts more than one-third of retirees from poverty. About 35% of the state’s population would have incomes below the poverty line if not for Social Security.
Medicare plays an important role in New Hampshire’s economy. The Medicare program spent $1.67 billion on health care services for New Hampshire residents in 2010.
Medicare provides peace of mind. Almost all seniors – over 216,000 – were enrolled in Medicare in 2010.
Medicare provides guaranteed health coverage but out-of-pocket costs are high. New Hampshire beneficiaries spent about $5,300 on out-of-pocket health care costs, consuming over 23% of their typical income.
“The statistics don’t lie,” added Clark. “Medicare and Social Security are and will continue to be critical to the economic security of New Hampshire families. That is why we must be vigilant of the politicians’ policy positions on how to keep these programs vital for generations to come.”
To find out more about the top policy options being discussed, check out Retooling Medicare and Time for a Tune-Up. There you’ll find the pros and cons – without the political jargon and spin – from both sides of the political spectrum: Heritage Foundation, Brookings Institution, and National Academy of Social Insurance. For more facts on Social Security and Medicare, visit http://www.earnedasay.org/.
Image by Donkey Hotey
(photo courtesy of James Thompson )