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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.

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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.

1950

Retire Comfortably

1951

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1952

1953

1954

1955

1956

1957

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

1958

1959

1960

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1961

Retire Comfortably

1962

1963

1964

1965

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

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

Retire Comfortably

1974

1975

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

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

Good Advice: 12 Essential Money Tips for Every Phase of Your Financial Life

1981

1982

1983

1984

Retire Comfortably

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

See: 35 Countries Where Your Social Security Check Goes Furthest

Retire Comfortably

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

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

2001

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

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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 Feb. 1, 2021.