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New Social Security Numbers for WYO

May 21, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - A new analysis of Social Security in Wyoming shows that more than 91,000 receive benefits every month, and the average benefit is about $13,000 a year. Joanne Mai, associate director for communications with AARP Wyoming, says her organization's new snapshot shows who depends on the checks.

Social Security makes up 50 percent or more of the income for over half of Wyoming residents age 65 and above. It is the only source of income for 25 percent, she adds.

"We found that one in six people in Wyoming is currently receiving Social Security benefits. That generates about $1 billion into Wyoming's economy each year."

The new report also notes that not all who receive Social Security in Wyoming are retirees. Thirty-two percent are widows or widowers, people with disabilities or children.

Mai says they also found that nearly all Wyoming seniors receive Social Security - and some depend on it more than others.

"Without Social Security, 39 percent of the state's population age 65 and older would be living in poverty right now."

Mai says the report was designed to help everyone understand the role Social Security plays and to encourage people of all ages to chime in about what they think the program should look like in the future. AARP's "Earned a Say" campaign will hold meetings around the state this year and is gathering input online at

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY