This 1970 poster powerfully makes the point that Social Security is more than a retirement program for senior citizens.

This 1970 poster reminds Americans that Social Security is more than a retirement program for senior citizens. A complete gallery of photos and posters is coming soon.


Most Americans think of Social Security as a program for the elderly, but it is of vital importance to America's children. Here is why:

  • Social Security is the nation's largest children's program.
    • Just over five million children under age 18- between seven and eight percent of all American children - get part or all of their family income from Social Security. Of this five million, three million receive benefits directly in their own right, because they are dependents of workers who have died, become disabled, or retired.
    • In contrast, around 3.6 million children get part or all of their family income from the next largest children's program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). None of these children receive benefits directly, in their own right.
  • Social Security is the nation's most important children's program, providing the most sustained and generous support.
    • Under Social Security, children are entitled to benefits every month until they reach age 18 (the age of 19, if they are still in high school.) Parents caring for children receive monthly benefits until children reach the age of 16. In contrast, families may only receive TANF benefits for a maximum of five years.
    • Social Security provides children an average annual benefit of around $5,000. TANF provides no children with benefits in their own right; the average spending per recipient is around $2,200.
  • Social Security is particularly important to disadvantaged children.
    • Children receiving Social Security in their own right live in families whose total income is 25 percent lower than the average for all American families with children
  • Social Security is particularly important to African-American children.
    • Because African-Americans have higher rates of disability and premature death than European-Americans, African-American children receive a disproportionate percentage of Social Security's dependent benefits. (African-American children constitute 15 percent of all U.S. children under age 18, but represent 23 percent of all children receiving Social Security.)
  • Social Security is currently paying monthly benefits to over 2,350 children and over 850 spouses of victims of the September 11 terrorist attack.
    • The first monthly checks were mailed just three weeks after the attack. The children's benefits will continue to be paid until the children reach age 18 (age 19, if still in high school).
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