Here are eight interesting facts about Social Security for 2008 compiled by our Central Office.

1. In 2008, about 50 million Americans will receive Social Security benefits _ that's roughly twice the number of people who live in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Dallas combined.

2. The nation's first baby-boomer begins collecting Social Security retirement benefits in February 2008 "¦ and over the next 20 years, another 78 million baby boomers will be eligible to apply for benefits, too. That's an average of more than 10,000 people applying for benefits every day.

3. About 70 percent of private sector workers have no long-term disability insurance _ but nearly all workers and their families have Social Security protection in the event of a long-term disability.

4. The average monthly Social Security survivors insurance benefit for a widow or widower with two dependent children is about $2,243 per month _ which for most workers is more than the value of their private life insurance.

5. More than 3 million children under age 18 get Social Security benefits _ as survivors of deceased workers, or as the children of people receiving retirement or disability benefits.

6. Approximately 442 million Social Security numbers have been issued since 1936 _ but there are about 1 billion possible Social Security number combinations with the nine-digit number, so there are plenty more to go around.

7. Social Security offices are very busy. Nearly 42 million people visit a Social Security office each year. Another 60 million call our nationwide toll-free telephone service each year at (800) 772-1213 (TTY (800) 325-0778). In addition, about 48 million people visit our Internet website at

8. By 2032, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as today _ growing from 38 million today to 72 million.

If you find these facts interesting and would like to know more about any aspect of the Social Security programs, you can visit our website at

Kemp Baratier is district manager for the Social Security Administration in Oneonta.

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