When You Were Born, What Was the Average Social Security Payout?

For many years, Social Security has been a cornerstone of American democracy. However, more than 80 years after its passage, it has undergone some significant alterations. 

While the underlying program stays the same — using current payroll taxes to deliver cash benefits to retirees — it has gradually grown more and more related to American society over time, culminating in the massive benefit that you see today.

But how valuable have those advantages been? The truth is that in the 1950s, your great grandparents’ Social Security benefits were likely significantly lower. 

Benefits have tripled in size over the last 70 years, even after accounting for inflation.

So, let’s take a look at how benefits have changed over the years to see if there are any valuable lessons to be learned from Social Security’s past about what to expect in the future.

1950

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $43.86

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $471.54

1951

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $42.14

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $421.56

1952

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $49.25

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $477.93

1953

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $51.10

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $494.03

1954

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $59.14

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $569.64

1955

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $61.90

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $598.45

1956

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $63.09

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $596.59

1957

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $64.58

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $591.26

1958

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $66.35

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $592.81

1959

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $72.78

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $645.80

1960

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $74.04

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $648.10

1961

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $75.65

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $653.37

1962

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $76.19

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $651.52

1963

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $76.88

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $648.85

1964

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $77.57

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $646.25

1965

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $83.92

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $688.09

1966

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $84.35

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $672.47

1967

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $85.37

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $662.26

1968

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $98.86

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $733.95

1969

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $100.40

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $706.90

Average Social Security Payout

1970

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $118.10

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $784.61

1971

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $132.17

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $841.41

1972

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $162.35

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,003.94

1973

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $166.42

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $973.35

1974

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $188.21

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $987.15

1975

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $207.18

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $990.42

1976

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $224.86

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,020.34

1977

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $243.00

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,032.16

1978

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $263.20

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,037.98

1979

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $294.30

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,043.14

1980

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $341.40

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,069.61

1981

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $385.97

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,091.76

1982

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $419.30

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,114.27

1983

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $440.77

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,143.18

1984

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $460.57

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,146.34

1985

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $478.62

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,150.38

1986

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $488.44

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,155.76

1987

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $512.65

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,167.21

1988

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $536.77

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,173.65

1989

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $566.85

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,180.64

1990

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $602.56

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,197.27

1991

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $629.32

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,197.19

1992

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $652.64

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,203.56

1993

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $674.06

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,209.48

1994

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $697.34

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,217.53

1995

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $719.80

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,222.96

1996

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $744.96

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,229.43

1997

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $774.84

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,250.85

1998

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $779.69

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,237.86

1999

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $804.30

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,250.12

2000

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $844.48

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,266.24

2001

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $874.44

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,276.44

2002

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $895.00

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,287.59

2003

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $922.08

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,299.14

2004

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $954.89

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,306.30

2005

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,002.00

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,328.66

2006

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,044.40

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,329.75

2007

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,078.60

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,341.66

2008

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,152.90

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,358.03

2009

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,164.30

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,400.84

2010

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,175.50

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,397.05

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2011

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,228.57

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,409.00

2012

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,261.61

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,426.79

2013

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,293.83

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,435.10

2014

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,328.58

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,444.85

2015

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,341.77

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,456.73

2016

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,360.13

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,464.55

2017

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,404.15

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,486.26

2018

Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,461.31

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,502.45

2019

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,578.55

2020

Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,629.51

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