The States With the Best (and Worst) Social Security Checks

By now every American citizen that is approaching retirement age should know that relying on Social Security for your nest egg is not a good idea. At least, we hope so!

The Social Security program is important for many households, particularly those with lower means. But it’s important to supplement your benefits with savings, otherwise, your retirement might not be as comfortable as you might hope.

In 2020, the average monthly benefits seniors receive is $1,514, totaling up to around $18,000 per year. In 2021, the Senior Citizens League nonprofit organization says that retirees will be getting even less due to a very low cost of living adjustment (COLA).

Wondering how seniors in other states will be handling their retirement? Today we’re going to look at the numbers all across the nation, starting with the lowest average Social Security benefit all the way to the largest. See where your state ranks on the list!

Also, since seniors in 2021 will be expecting a 1.3% raise, we’re also including that so you should know what to expect!

51. Louisiana

The state of Louisiana may be famous for its natural beauty, parks, and historic sites, but it’s certainly not famed for its average annual benefit. In 2020 this number came down to $17,062. As many as 559,820 retirees benefit from these funds, according to the Social Security Administration.

That means that per month, these seniors receive $1421.83. Since next year’s COLA has been calculated at 1.3%, a historic low, seniors will probably be receiving $1,440.32 per month in 2021- that’s just $17,284 per year.

If that doesn’t sound like enough then it’s time to start saving money immediately!

50. Mississippi

Living in the Magnolia State sounds divine, right? Well, retirees might not agree with that assumption unless they’ve got hefty savings to help see them through a comfortable retirement.

With the average benefits sitting at $1,427.13 per month in 2020, it means that retirees will receive around $17,125.62 per year. Considering the fact that 1 in 5 elderly singles or married couples in the U.S. rely on their Social Security for at least 90% of their income, these are truly frightening numbers and statistics.

Thanks to COLA, in 2012 seniors should expect around $1,445.69 per month and $17,348 per year.

49. Maine

With benefits totaling up to around $17,241 a year in Maine, it means that seniors will receive an average $1,436.75 a month in 2020. That’s 242,442 workers that rely on their social security!

Did you know that 90% of Americans aged 65 or older receive Social Security benefits? That means one of two things. Most seniors either wait for their full retirement age or until they’re 70. When they reach their FRA they’ll be able to collect full benefits, but waiting until 70 is ideal since you’ll get more money in your pocket every month.

In 2021, seniors in Vacationland should expect $1,455.43 per month or $17,465 per year.

48. New Mexico

Not only does New Mexico tax Social Security, but it’s also one of the states where a senior’s monthly benefits are really, really low- $17,291. On a yearly basis, retirees can expect to receive an average of $17,291.06.

Next year’s 1.3% raise will bump those number up to $1,459.65 and $17,516 respectively.

If you think you’ll be in financial trouble when you retire then it’ll be worth it for you to get in touch with a financial planner. You’d be surprised by how quickly you can find solutions to your problems. More often than not all you need is a 30-minute call in order to establish your priorities, goals and make a plan on how to move forward.

47. Arkansas

Many nature-loving seniors would probably find The Natural State a lovely place to vacation. Who wouldn’t? With over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers, Arkansas is a perfect destination for those who love the great outdoors.

But will folks in Arkansas have enough funds to visit all the natural beauty that the state has to offer? With an average of $17,363 per month, totaling up to around $17,362.82 per year, they might struggle to budget for such trips.

In 2021, seniors will likely receive around $1,465.71 per month, $17,589 per year. Clearly, a lot of things have changed since President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law in 1935.

46. Montana

According to the Social Security Administration, there are currently 178,102 retirees in Montana who are claiming benefits. In 2020, they’re receiving $17,397 per month on average or $17396.99 per year.

Keep in mind that your benefits will be taxed as well, so ensure that you have other forms of income during retirement.

Thanks to COLA, seniors will likely receive $1,468.60 per month or $17,623.15 per year in 2021.

45. Kentucky

There are a whole lot of retirees in the Bluegrass State- 618,077 to be exact, according to the Social Security Administration. In 2020 they have received $1,454.10 per month in benefits ($17,449.17 for the full year).

Next year, in 2021, thanks to COLA seniors will be able to pocket $1,473 per month, totaling up to $17,676 at the end of the year.

By the time you retire make sure to pay off all your debts so you won’t have to dip into your Social Security in order to make monthly payments.

44. South Dakota

For a place known as the land of infinite variety, South Dakota sure doesn’t provide *that* much variety when it comes to social security. Here, 137,577 seniors receive benefits. In 2020, the average was $1,463.31 a month and $17,559.68 per year.

So what can residents of South Dakota look forward to in 2021, right next to a visit to the famed Mount Rushmore, of course! Well, cola dictates that seniors here will most likely receive an average check of $1,482.33 or  $17,788 per year.

If that doesn’t sound like enough, you should look for ways to solidify your savings as soon as possible!

43. Alaska

Residents of The Last Frontier may not be too thrilled about their social security benefits. In 2020, seniors received an average of $1,465.14 per month, $17,581.66 per year. In 2021, they’ll get a few more dollars up to $1,484.18 per month and $17,810 per year.

However, there’s a huge benefit to living in Alaska. Here, residents also receive an annual payment form the state’s oil-wealth fund, making it easier to deal with day-to-day expenses. Back in 2019, the amount was $1,606!

42. North Dakota

Is anyone surprised that South Dakota and North Dakota are very close on the list? With only $1,472.45 per month in 2020 and $17,669.38 per year in Social Security Benefits, it’s really no wonder that the Peace Garden State didn’t score better.

Sadly, you’ll also have to pay taxes on your social security, so if you currently live here or wish to live here during retirement, make sure your savings will make up for that sudden gap!

Retirees will likely receive $1,491.59 per month or $17,899 per year in 2021.

41. Oklahoma

With 537,909 retirees receiving Social Security benefits in Oklahoma, it’s no wonder that the average senior receives $1,488.74 per month, $17,864.89 per year. What about in 2021? Well, those numbers will go up only a little bit, $1,508.09 and $18,097.

That’s why it’s important to look for ways to supplement your savings. Luckily, seniors can find a lot of side gigs from online tutoring to counseling to even turning a long-time hobby into a small business.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, it’s just better that you do! After all, unless you have a decent amount of money saved you’ll have to rely mostly on your Social security and, clearly, that may not be enough.

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