GOBankingRates

The Average Social Security Check the Year You Were Born

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Social Security has long been a cornerstone of American democracy. However, it has also undergone some dramatic changes in the over 80 years since its passage. While the core program remains unchanged — using present-day payroll taxes to provide cash payments to retirees — it has slowly become more and more connected to American society over the years, growing all the while to the enormous benefit you see today.

But just how much have those benefits been worth? The truth is, the Social Security checks your great grandparents might have been receiving in the 1950s were much smaller. Even after accounting for inflation, benefits have tripled in size over the last 70 years.

So here’s a look at how benefits have changed over the decades, should there be some valuable lessons in Social Security’s past to tell us about what to expect from its future.

Exclusive: Americans’ Savings Drop to Lowest Point in Years

1950

1951

Building Wealth

1952

1953

1954

1955

Important: Biden Wants to Shut Down Credit Bureaus – What Would That Mean for You?

1956

1957

Be Aware: 11 Social Security Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune

1958

1959

1960

Avoid: 30 Things You Do That Can Mess Up Your Credit Score

1961

Building Wealth

1962

1963

1964

1965

Don’t Forget: The 6 Most Important Tax Deductions You Need to Claim

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

Find Out: How Do Your Stimulus Payments Affect Your Taxes?

1971

1972

Building Wealth

1973

1974

1975

Find Out: 16 Ways People Survived Before Social Security — Could You Do It?

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

Think About It: Never Got Your Stimulus Check? Claim It on Your Taxes

1981

1982

1983

Building Wealth

1984

1985

Helpful: 17 Tips To Live Comfortably Off Just a Social Security Check

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

Whoa: 9 Successful Money-Making ‘Schemes’ That Are Actually Legal

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Building Wealth

See: 35 Countries Where Your Social Security Check Goes Furthest

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

Learn More: Here’s How Much Teachers Make in Every State

2001

Building Wealth

2002

2003

2004

2005

Need To Know: Just How Rich Are President Joe Biden and These Other Big Names?

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Take a Look: The Rich Are Costing Social Security Billions a Year

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: GOBankingRates used the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) “Annual Statistical Supplement, 2019” to find the average Social Security Check the year you were born. Using this report, GOBankingRates referenced Table 3.C4–Average monthly amount of Social Security (OASDI) to find: (1) the average monthly Social Security payment for retired workers (amount at the time), and then used the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator to find the (2) average monthly Social Security payment for retired workers (2020 dollars) for the years 1950 through 2018. Then, GOBankingRates used the SSA’s Beneficiary Data portal to find the average monthly benefit amount for retired workers for 2019 and 2020 in current dollars. All data was collected on and up to date as of February 1, 2021.

Last updated: Feb. 16, 2021

Social Security has long been a cornerstone of American democracy. However, it has also undergone some dramatic changes in the over 80 years since its passage. While the core program remains unchanged — using present-day payroll taxes to provide cash payments to retirees — it has slowly become more and more connected to American society over the years, growing all the while to the enormous benefit you see today. But just how much have those benefits been worth? The truth is, the Social Security checks your great grandparents might have been receiving in the 1950s were much smaller. Even after accounting for inflation, benefits have tripled in size over the last 70 years. Read More: 20 Best Places To Live on Only a Social Security Check So here's a look at how benefits have changed over the decades, should there be some valuable lessons in Social Security's past to tell us about what to expect from its future.
Last updated: Dec. 11, 2020
Nutter/US Army / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1950

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $43.86
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $471.54
©Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1951

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $42.14
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $421.56
©Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1952

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $49.25
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $477.93
AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

1953

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $51.10
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $494.03
©Diana Varga ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sothebby's

1954

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $59.14
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $569.64
patty_c / Getty Images

1955

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $61.90
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $598.45
Department of Defense / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1956

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $63.09
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $596.59
©Scott Pattenden ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

1957

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $64.58
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $591.26
Be Aware: 11 Social Security Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune
©Shutterstock.com

1958

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $66.35
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $592.81
Daily Mail / Shutterstock.com

1959

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $72.78
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $645.80
©Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1960

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $74.04
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $648.10
U.S. Information Agency / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1961

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $75.65
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $653.37
Everett / Shutterstock.com

1962

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $76.19
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $651.52
Consolidated News / Shutterstock.com

1963

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $76.88
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $648.85
©Library of Congress

1964

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $77.57
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $646.25
keithy BX / Wikimedia Commons

1965

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $83.92
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $688.09
Yoichi Okamoto / Wikimedia Commons

1966

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $84.35
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $672.47
 
Original photographer unknown / Wikimedia Commons

1967

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $85.37
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $662.26
White House Photo Office / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1968

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $98.86
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $733.95
Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/ / Shutterstock.com

1969

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $100.40
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $706.90
Focus On Sport / Getty Images

1970

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $118.10
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $784.61
Focus On Sport / Focus on Sport via Getty Images

1971

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $132.17
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $841.41
Jack Kightlinger / Wikimedia Commons

1972

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $162.35
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,003.94
US House of Representatives Photo / Wikimedia Commons

1973

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $166.42
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $973.35
David Hume Kennerly / Gerald R. Ford Library

1974

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $188.21
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $987.15
©Universal Pictures

1975

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $207.18
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $990.42
U.S. National Archives and Recor / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1976

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $224.86
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,020.34
Find Out: 16 Ways People Survived Before Social Security — Could You Do It?
Globe Photos/Mediapunch/Shutterstock / Globe Photos/Mediapunch/Shutterstock

1977

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $243.00
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,032.16
Preston Stroup/AP / Shutterstock.com

1978

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $263.20
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,037.98
Focus On Sport / Getty Images

1979

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $294.30
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,043.14
mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com

1980

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $341.40
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,069.61
amophoto_au / Shutterstock.com

1981

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $385.97
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,091.76
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

1982

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $419.30
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,114.27
Greg Gjerdingen / Flickr.com

1983

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $440.77
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,143.18
Helpful: 20 Tips To Live Comfortably Off Just a Social Security Check
Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress

1984

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $460.57
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,146.34
©Library of Congress

1985

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $478.62
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,150.38
Boston Globe / Boston Globe via Getty Images

1986

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $488.44
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,155.76
20th Century Fox/Kobal / Shutterstock.com

1987

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $512.65
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,167.21
©Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1988

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $536.77
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,173.65
©Warner Bros.

1989

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $566.85
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,180.64
Duane Burleson/AP / Shutterstock.com

1990

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $602.56
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,197.27
Staff Sgt. Vance / United States Marine Corps

1991

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $629.32
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,197.19
Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

1992

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $652.64
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,203.56
©Universal Pictures

1993

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $674.06
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,209.48
Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

1994

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $697.34
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,217.53
See: 35 Countries Where Your Social Security Check Goes Furthest
sx70 / Getty Images

1995

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $719.80
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,222.96
MSGT Renee Humble, USAF / Wikimedia Commons

1996

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $744.96
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,229.43
RUSSIAN FEDERATION / Shutterstock.com

1997

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $774.84
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,250.85
Joe Marquette/AP/REX / Shutterstock.com

1998

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $779.69
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,237.86
Phil Anthony / Shutterstock.com

1999

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $804.30
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,250.12
Eric Draper / The George W. Bush Presidential

2000

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $844.48
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,266.24
Anthony Correia / Shutterstock.com

2001

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $874.44
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,276.44
Jeff Gross / Getty Images

2002

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $895.00
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,287.59
Vauxford / Wikimedia Commons

2003

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $922.08
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,299.14
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

2004

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $954.89
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,306.30
Sporting News Archive / Getty Images

2005

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,002.00
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,328.66
Cody Peterson / Wikimedia Commons

2006

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,044.40
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,329.75
Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

2007

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,078.60
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,341.66
Take a Look: The Rich Are Costing Social Security Billions a Year
John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com

2008

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,152.90
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,358.03
Master Sgt Jerry Morrison / US Army

2009

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,164.30
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,400.84
Staff Sgt. William Tremblay / US Army

2010

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,175.50
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,397.05
©Toyota

2011

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,228.57
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,409.00
Action Sports Photography / Shutterstock.com

2012

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,261.61
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,426.79
©Mazda

2013

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,293.83
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,435.10
Natursports / Shutterstock.com

2014

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,328.58
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,444.85
Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com

2015

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,341.77
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,456.73
©Shutterstock.com

2016

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,360.13
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,464.55
Mercedes-Benz / Wieck

2017

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,404.15
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,486.26
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

2018

  • Average monthly Social Security payment that year: $1,461.31
  • Average monthly Social Security payment in 2020 dollars: $1,502.45
More From GOBankingRates Photos are for representational purposes only and therefore may not be from the year listed -- instead they may represent a person, event, etc. that was in the news that year. Methodology: For this piece GOBankingRates used the Social Security Administration's "Annual Statistical Supplement, 2019" to find the average Social Security Check the year you were born. Using this report, GOBankingRates referenced Table 3.C4—Average monthly amount of Social Security (OASDI) to find: (1) the average monthly Social Security payment for retired workers (amount at the time), and then used the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator to find the (2) average monthly Social Security payment for retired workers (2020 dollars) for the years 1950 through 2018. All data was collected on and up to date as of Sept. 8, 2020.