Social Security Recipients Tally Hits New High

The baby boom generation only recently began retiring, but already there is one American receiving Social Security benefits for every 1.67 full-time workers in the private sector.

The Social Security program ran a $48 billion deficit in fiscal 2012, bringing in $725 billion and paying out $773 billion for benefits and overhead expenses, according to official data from the Social Security Administration.

The overall number of Social Security beneficiaries — including retired workers, dependent family members and survivors, and disabled workers and their dependent family members — hit a record in December, 56,758,185, up from 56,658,978 in November.

The SSA has also disclosed that the number of workers collecting disability benefits hit a record 8,827,795 in December.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an average of 112.5 million full-time workers in the United States in 2011, including 17.8 million who worked full-time for local, state or federal government. That left an average of only 94.7 million full-time private sector workers in the country.

That translates to 1.67 Americans working full-time in the private sector in 2011 for each person collecting benefits from the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security program has not run a “net cash flow” surplus since fiscal 2009, when revenues exceeded benefit and overhead payments by $19.3 billion.

When the Social Security program runs a net cash flow deficit, as it has in the last three fiscal years, the Treasury needs to “borrow” cash from the federal government. As of Dec. 21, the federal government’s debt was $16.336 trillion.