Rodeo and social security – more than numbers | TSLN.com

Rodeo and social security – more than numbers

Kathy Petersen

Rodeo is distinct among modern sports because it developed from a working industry. It’s also a competition know for its numbers. Casey Tibbs’ six PRCA saddle bronc-riding championships, Paul Tierney’s record as the second rodeo cowboy to earn more than $100,000 in a single season (1980), and Oral Zumwalt’s 1930 2.2 second steer wrestling time, all tell stories much larger than the numbers themselves. Mention anyone of these numbers to a rodeo fan and you’re sure to call to mind memories and anecdotes.

Social Security’s numbers tell stories too. The first lump sum Social Security payment was made to Ernest Ackerman in 1937 for the whopping amount of 17 cents. That wasn’t a bad return, considering Mr. Ackerman only worked one day and contributed five cents in Social Security taxes before retiring. The first monthly Social Security check went to Ida May Fuller in January of 1940, for $22.54. Miss Fuller lived to be 100, which means she collected Social Security benefits for 35 years.

In 2009, almost 51 million Americans will receive nearly $615 billion in Social Security benefits. That’s one out of every five dollars spent by the federal government. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker in 2009 is $1,153 – a far cry from Miss Fuller’s $22.54.

Social Security benefits represent about 40 percent of income for the elderly. Ninety percent of Americans age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

An estimated 164 million workers are covered under Social Security – that’s 96 percent of the workforce. And Social Security is more than just retirement benefits. Disabled workers and their dependents account for 18 percent of the total benefits paid, while survivor’s benefits account for 13 percent. Almost one in four workers will become disabled before reaching age 67 and the majority of these workers have no long-term disability insurance besides their Social Security coverage.

Not only do these numbers paint a picture of Social Security today, they also help us predict how that picture will change in the future. In 1935, the life expectancy of a 65-year old was 12.5 years. Today it’s 18 years. There are currently 3.3 workers for every Social Security beneficiary. That number will decrease to 2.1 workers per beneficiary in 2034. By that time, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as there are today.

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Another exciting statistic: more than one million people have applied for retirement benefits the fast, easy, convenient way – online. So when you’re ready to ride your retirement ride, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov and you’re sure to beat the clock without a penalty.

Rodeo and Social Security: A working American sport and America’s working retirement program. Both have long and storied histories and associations with numbers that can evoke recollections of days gone by, reflections of present times and predictions of the future. Learn more about Social Security by visiting http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

Rodeo is distinct among modern sports because it developed from a working industry. It’s also a competition know for its numbers. Casey Tibbs’ six PRCA saddle bronc-riding championships, Paul Tierney’s record as the second rodeo cowboy to earn more than $100,000 in a single season (1980), and Oral Zumwalt’s 1930 2.2 second steer wrestling time, all tell stories much larger than the numbers themselves. Mention anyone of these numbers to a rodeo fan and you’re sure to call to mind memories and anecdotes.

Social Security’s numbers tell stories too. The first lump sum Social Security payment was made to Ernest Ackerman in 1937 for the whopping amount of 17 cents. That wasn’t a bad return, considering Mr. Ackerman only worked one day and contributed five cents in Social Security taxes before retiring. The first monthly Social Security check went to Ida May Fuller in January of 1940, for $22.54. Miss Fuller lived to be 100, which means she collected Social Security benefits for 35 years.

In 2009, almost 51 million Americans will receive nearly $615 billion in Social Security benefits. That’s one out of every five dollars spent by the federal government. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker in 2009 is $1,153 – a far cry from Miss Fuller’s $22.54.

Social Security benefits represent about 40 percent of income for the elderly. Ninety percent of Americans age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

An estimated 164 million workers are covered under Social Security – that’s 96 percent of the workforce. And Social Security is more than just retirement benefits. Disabled workers and their dependents account for 18 percent of the total benefits paid, while survivor’s benefits account for 13 percent. Almost one in four workers will become disabled before reaching age 67 and the majority of these workers have no long-term disability insurance besides their Social Security coverage.

Not only do these numbers paint a picture of Social Security today, they also help us predict how that picture will change in the future. In 1935, the life expectancy of a 65-year old was 12.5 years. Today it’s 18 years. There are currently 3.3 workers for every Social Security beneficiary. That number will decrease to 2.1 workers per beneficiary in 2034. By that time, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as there are today.

Another exciting statistic: more than one million people have applied for retirement benefits the fast, easy, convenient way – online. So when you’re ready to ride your retirement ride, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov and you’re sure to beat the clock without a penalty.

Rodeo and Social Security: A working American sport and America’s working retirement program. Both have long and storied histories and associations with numbers that can evoke recollections of days gone by, reflections of present times and predictions of the future. Learn more about Social Security by visiting http://www.socialsecurity.gov.