Social Security benefits will increase by 1.7% in 2013, providing about $21 more each month for the average recipient. According to 2011 data from the Social Security Administration, Puerto Rico has 488,333 elderly Social Security beneficiaries and 821,419 beneficiaries in total – roughly 18% of the Puerto Rican population.
Social Security is financed through federal payroll taxes. Puerto Ricans pay these federal payroll taxes and receive the corresponding Social Security benefits when they qualify. Employees as well as employers are obligated to pay payroll taxes on worker salaries.
Without Social Security, some 21.5 million more Americans would be living in poverty, including more than one million elderly people in Florida. More than half of the elderly in less prosperous states such as Arkansas, West Virginia, and Mississippi would live in poverty without Social Security.
Social Security is not only for the elderly: orphans, widows, people with disabilities, and the dependents of people receiving Social Security also qualify for benefits. In terms of U.S. coverage, approximately 16% of the nation receives a Social Security check every month.