Social Security and Senior Poverty

Before Social Security, almost 80 percent of American seniors lived in poverty. As Social Security contributions and payments became established early in the postwar era, poverty among seniors began to fall—and continued to do so under the Great Society, abetted by the passage of Medicare in 1965. Since the program’s growth slowed in the 1980s and 1990s, poverty among seniors has leveled out at about 10 percent.

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