In Hamilton County, 1 in 3 people draw Social Security checks

The on-line rural news magazine Daily Yonder has been exploring the heavy dependency of small towns on the Social Security income.

In rural communities, the Federal program accounts for more than 9% of all income — that’s nearly twice as high as city people, where populations tend to be far younger.

The contrast is sharply visible here in the North Country, where in Hamilton County roughly 1500 people draw Social Security checks every month.

That’s nearly one out of every three people in the community.

In the borough of Queens, by comparison, only about 12% of residents draw Social Security — more like one person out of eight.

The numbers reflect the North Country’s aging population.  And it also illustrates how vulnerable this region could be to major changes to the program.

It’s not just Hamilton, though Hamilton is an extreme case.  In Clinton and St. Lawrence Counties, one in five people draw Social Security checks.  In Essex County, nearly one in four.

It won’t just be individual families that experience change, if entitlements are curtailed:  whole communities could see their economies impacted.

Check out the Daily Yonder’s article and chime in.  Should Social Security be trimmed?  If so, what would that do to North Country towns where those checks provide a lot of the total cash economy?

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7 Comments on “In Hamilton County, 1 in 3 people draw Social Security checks”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    I wonder about the accuracy of these numbers. What I did find interesting when going to the link was how in rural areas the breakdown shows a larger portion of SS payments going towards disability and survivor payments than in cities while payments going to retirees are lower than in cities.
    Figures can at the very least hide the truth. And after all is said and done, what it the point of this so called “informational news?”

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  2. brian mann says:

    The numbers come from the Social Security administration. In Hamilton County 80% of the people who receive checks are retired. The others are on forms of disability, etc.

    I’m not sure what you mean about figures hiding the truth. Hamilton County relies on Social Security. Heavily. If the program is changed by Congress, the community will feel it. That seems like a reasonable set of facts to discuss.

    Brian, NCPR

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  3. Pete Klein says:

    Does the 1 in 3 include children, those under 18?
    If Hamilton County attracts a large number of retirees, then why shouldn’t they draw on SS, needed or not, considering they did pay into it?
    Entitlement? Absolutely! If I deposit money in the bank or purchase any form of insurance, I should be entitled to take back my money when I want it and am entitled to it.
    On the other hand, if someone takes money from a fund that others invested in but they themselves did not invest in, I would not call that an entitlement. I would call it robbery.

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  4. Paul says:

    Also, don’t forget SS is drawn by many people who don’t need the money.

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  5. oa says:

    SS should go to everyone, regardless of income. It’s one of the things that makes the program successful. Everyone pays into it, everyone gets back from it. Start taking away rich and middle class recipients, and then it gets stigmatized as “welfare” for poor, weak people–“them”–and suddenly, it’s ripe for being destroyed and having its copious reserves raided by private money managers.
    Of course, nobody would ever think of such a diabolical plan…

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  6. Mervel says:

    There are no reserves it is simply paid out of current revenues, the rest is book keeping fiction. It is not a retirement program. We pay taxes some of those are called FICA, however, they ALL go into one pot, some of that pot goes back out to current retiree’s.

    It is a good program and a needed program but we have to be realistic, as we get more and more old people and fewer and fewer people in the actual workforce you have an imbalance and that has to be addressed one way or the other.

    Instead of not paying social security to the wealthy all they would have to do is uncap the upper level for social security then wealthy would pay in at the same rate as do the middle class and lower income earners.

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  7. oa says:

    I agree all they have to do is uncap the upper level of payment. Let the wealthy keep paying.
    I disagree with your diagnosis of solvency, and I think a little googling (sorry, don’t have time myself, but have done it before) will show you that. Intuitively, if it’s so bad and there’s no money there, why have the banksters for the last 20 years been so eager to privatize it and take control of the money that’s not there?

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