Social Security Cuts Could Hurt These States the Most, Study Finds

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There have been many discussions about potential Social Security cuts over the past couple of years, leaving some seniors, retirees and other beneficiaries wondering how a cut to the program could affect their budget.

To put the impact of potential Social Security cuts into perspective, GOBankingRates conducted a study to find out which states would be the hardest hit by proposed cuts — and which states would see the smallest impact.

In the study, GOBankingRates analyzed two major factors: the percentage of the entire state’s population that receives Social Security benefits of any kind and the percentage of households age 60 and older receiving Social Security benefits. That way, the study incorporates both the overall percentage of residents in each state receiving benefits, as well as how dependent retirees are on Social Security benefits.

Most states ranked similarly in the two factors. For example, Alaska ranked first overall for being least affected by potential cuts. It also had the smallest percentage of residents receiving benefits at 13 percent and the smallest percentage of households over 60 with Social Security income at just 63.7 percent.

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At the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia — the state the study identified as being the most affected — had the highest percentage of residents receiving benefits at 25.5 percent as well as the highest percentage of households over 60 receiving benefits at 82.3 percent. In fact, the 10 states that would be most affected by Social Security cuts had a population of senior households receiving Social Security of at least 77 percent or more.

Here’s the final ranking of states, starting with the states that would be least affected by Social Security cuts:

1. Alaska
2. California
3. Utah
4. Colorado
5. Maryland
6. Texas
7. Massachusetts
8. Illinois
9. Virginia
10. Wyoming
11. New York
12. New Jersey
13. Connecticut
14. Washington
15. North Dakota
16. Louisiana
17. Nevada
18. Georgia
19. Nebraska
20. Hawaii
21. Minnesota
22. Kansas
23. New Mexico
24. Ohio
25. South Dakota
26. Rhode Island
27. Arizona
28. Oklahoma
29. Idaho
30. New Hampshire
31. Indiana
32. Iowa
33. Oregon
34. North Carolina
35. Missouri
36. Wisconsin
37. Montana
38. Pennsylvania
39. Vermont
40. Tennessee
41. Delaware
42. Mississippi
43. Kentucky
44. Michigan
45. Florida
46. South Carolina
47. Alabama
48. Maine
49. Arkansas
50. West Virginia

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Methodology: To determine which states would be the most and least impacted by Social Security cuts, GOBankingRates calculated the ratio of people in each state earning Social Security benefits to the state population. The study also pinpointed the percentage of 60-and-over households with Social Security income. Data for this study was sourced from the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau.