Social Security ensures important protections for all Americans, but it is of vital importance to Native Americans. Here is why:
- Native Americans, on average, live longer than the majority of the population, and Social Security provides benefits every month no matter how long a person lives.
- Native American men aged 65 in 2004 are expected to live, on average, until age 84, compared to age 81 for all men.
- Native American women aged 65 in 2004 are expected to live, on average, until age 88, compared to age 85 for all women.
- Social Security is the only source of income for 33 percent of Native Americans aged 65 and over.
- Native Americans, on average, earn less than European Americans, and Social Security contains a progressive benefit formula, which provides lower earners a higher rate of return on their Social Security contributions.
- The median earnings in 2002 of Native Americans working in jobs covered by Social Security were about $20,700, compared to $28,400 for all working-age people.