Here's how many Social Security recipients have their home paid off - Skip to content

Here’s how many Social Security recipients have their home paid off


The Social Security Administration’s report provides a treasure trove of data


What do the vast majority of age-eligible potential homeowners have in common? Social Security and for most it’s the linchpin of their retirement security.




With The Senior Citizens League reporting over 40 percent of retirees rely solely on Social Security benefits to survive, it is no surprise that 62% of program recipients report they are dissatisfied with their 2024 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment. Next year’s cost-of-living-adjustment may be disappointing as well. The projected cost-of-living adjustment for 2025 will be only 1.75 percent, a significant decline from the 3.2 and 8.7 percent increase in 2024 and 2023.




While Social Security benefits are adjusted annually based on the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) the accumulated cost of living far exceeds any boost in monthly payouts. We covered some of this in last week’s episode which exposed the CPI lie.




A survey from Atticus found nearly two out of five respondents plan to return to work due to the modest 2024 COLA increase. One 65-year-old woman responded to the survey saying, “Utility, insurance, heating, and food costs have risen 8-14% in the last year. The 2024 COLA doesn’t offset these rising costs”.




A 75-year-old woman said, “My medical insurance supplement nullifies the Social Security increase. The spike in food prices hits hard, especially for those relying solely on Social Security.”


Nadia Vanderhall, a financial planner at The Brands and Bands Strategy Group, told Newsweek, “Even though people can be within retirement for over 30 years, Americans are living longer while things are becoming more expensive.”




In response to the pressures of inflation, older Americans are making financial changes to cope with the higher cost of living. 64% are cutting back on their discretionary spending. This typically means less dining out or shopping. However, even more painful are the 36% who are cutting back on daily essentials. Consequently, older Americans are cutting back on groceries, medications, or healthcare visits.




Could a reverse mortgage provide some much-needed cash flow? Could these cash-strapped Social Security beneficiaries find relief by tapping into their home’s value?




To answer that question we look at the 2021 bulletin Housing Expenditures of Social Security Beneficiaries from the Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy. The report data comes from Census Bureau data that surveyed households with at least one person receiving Social Security. Here’s what they found as of 2018. Renters accounted for 32.5% of Social Security recipients. Homeowners with a mortgage balance represented a median share of 25% of households, and only 12% owned their homes free and clear.



Editor in Chief:
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
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