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On Social Security’s 85th Anniversary, Survey Finds Nearly All Americans View Social Security as an Important Program

Social Security benefits identification card with 100 dollar bills
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Majority Believe it is More Important in Light of Pandemic

WASHINGTON— A new AARP survey, released in conjunction with Social Security’s 85th anniversary, confirms that Americans highly value Social Security, and even more so due to the pandemic. The clear majority of Americans – 93% of Republicans, 99% of Democrats, and 92% of Independents – see Social Security as an important government program, and 56% believe it is even more important for retirees in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent yesterday to President Trump, AARP asked him to explain his plan to replace Social Security funding.

More than 1.1 million Virginians receive Social Security retirement benefits. For more than 45% of them, it accounts for more than half of their household income. Social Security accounts for more than 90% of total household income for more than 25% of Virginia’s beneficiaries.

AARP Virginia is fighting to protect voters 50-plus and make their voices heard on the issues that matter – protecting Social Security and Medicare, lowering prescription drug prices, and ensuring you can vote safely from home or in-person,” said AARP State President Joyce Williams. “Workers have paid into Social Security with every paycheck. It’s a hard-earned benefit and a promise that must be kept. AARP will never stop fighting to strengthen Social Security, and make sure hard-working Americans get the benefits they’ve earned.

Social Security was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug. 14, 1935.

AARP’s survey found that Social Security is a key source of income and economic stability in retirement, but they have concerns about whether it will be enough.


  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) are worried that Social Security will not provide enough to live on during their retirement.
  • Two-thirds of Americans believe the average monthly Social Security retirement benefit of $1503 per month is too low. Nearly 3 in 5 Americans are not confident in the future of Social Security, with confidence in the program lowest among 30-49-year-olds at only 28%.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 Americans (39%) say they do or will rely on Social Security for a substantial portion of their retirement income and 4 out of 5 expect it to be part of their retirement income.

Social Security is a key component of AARP Virginia’s “Protect Voters 50+” campaign, which launched August 3. The initiative is calling on the presidential candidates to tell us their plan to protect Social Security for current and future generations, and helping voters cast their votes safely from home or in-person this November.

With more than 1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ and their families in the Commonwealth.

To learn more about AARP Virginia, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aarpvirginia and follow @AARPVa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aarpva.

This survey was conducted among 1,441 Americans 18 and older between July 14, 2020 and July 27, 2020 with a confidence interval of ± 3.4% at the 95% confidence level.

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About AARP AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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