According to a report by the Trustees of the Social Security program issued in 2011, 54 million people
received some type of Social Security benefit in 2010, totaling $706 billion.
According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Social Security represents 40% of the income of
all elderly people in the United States.
The poverty rate for those age 65 and older was 35% in 1960 and was 9% in 2010. Without Social
Security, the poverty rate for people age 65 and older in 2010 would have been 45%, according to the
AARP Public Policy Institute.
Obviously, Social Security has become an integral financial consideration for most Americans. To counsel
them effectively, advisors must be aware of what the program can and can’t do. We’ll begin here with
some basic background information that will come in handy as you move into subsequent chapters on
client planning concerns. Beginning in this chapter and throughout the book, we’ll frame many sections
around questions that a client might ask a CPA so that practitioners can easily find the answers to