Social Security was meant to help people as a supplemental income in their old age.
But for too many people, it is the only source they have. Nine out of 10 individuals age 65 and older, or 38 million Americans, receive Social Security. The average monthly benefit is $1,294.
Social Security represents about 38 percent of the income for the elderly, the Social Security Administration reports.
But the June AARP Bulletin notes that a far higher percentage of people age 65 and older relied on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their family income from 2010-2012. It was highest in the South, where wages often are depressed.
For example, 30.7 percent of seniors in Arkansas depended on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their family income. It was 30.8 percent in Mississippi, 29.9 percent in Louisiana, 28.7 percent in Alabama, 30.6 percent in Georgia, 27.2 percent in Florida, 32.7 percent in Tennessee, 29.7 percent in Kentucky, 28.9 percent in West Virginia, 29.9 percent in North Carolina and 29.4 percent in South Carolina.
In Missouri it was 22.1 percent and 20.5 percent in Kansas. Alaska was 14.5 percent and Hawaii was 15.1 percent.