These 10 states could be ruined if cuts are made to Social Security

The year 2034 is looming in the future for many politicians and public planners. That’s because it’s the year when, based on current projections, Social Security’s trust fund will finally run out and the program will need to find new sources of revenue — or make some cuts.

Although Social Security cuts could make life harder across the U.S., a GOBankingRates study found that some states are facing a much bigger hit than most based on the size of their senior population and the portion of the state receiving Social Security benefits. For plenty of states, cuts to Social Security benefits could potentially reach beyond just making it harder for retirees to get by and have a profound effect on the region’s economy as a whole.

Click through to see which states could be most affected if major Social Security cuts are made.

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10 US states at risk if cuts are made to Social Security
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10 US states at risk if cuts are made to Social Security

10. Delaware

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 21.6 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 79.1 percent

It might not be one of the best places to live on only Social Security, but many people rely on the program in Delaware. As of 2016, Delaware provided some $3.3 billion in benefits to just over 200,000 Delawareans — a little over a fifth of its total population, according to a report by Social Security Works.

If the projected 21 percent cut in the program becomes a reality, that would translate to approximately $700 million a year that would no longer flow into the local economy.

9. Mississippi

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 21.9 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 79.4 percent

Mississippi is one of the states with the lowest cost of living, but that doesn’t mean its residents would have an easy time getting by without the federal benefits many have come to rely on. According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trust, federal benefits account for about a third of Mississippi’s total economy.

Still, Mississippians living in Tupelo can at least count on their situation remaining relatively solid: It’s one of the best places to live on a fixed income.

8. Kentucky

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 22 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 79.6 percent

Teachers in Kentucky have had to remind people that their battle for maintaining their pension benefits has higher stakes than many people realize, as public school teachers can’t collect Social Security benefits. In Kentucky, almost four out of five households aged 60 and older are collecting benefits, as are over one in five members of the population as a whole.

Click to See: The Most Tax-Friendly States for Retirees

7. Michigan

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 21.8 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 80 percent

The 21.8 percent of the population collecting Social Security in the Great Lake State translates to over 2 million people who might be in trouble if there are cuts to the program, a number that will almost certainly be much higher by 2034.

A 21 percent cut to the $34.4 billion paid out as of 2016 would mean some $7.2 billion a year will no longer flow into the state economy, according to Social Security Works.

6. Florida

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 22.2 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 79.5 percent

Florida has over 4 million residents collecting Social Security benefits, over 3 million of whom are retirees. According to Social Security Works, a 21 percent cut in benefits would translate to almost $14 billion dollars in benefits no longer flowing into the Florida economy based on the most current numbers — something that could impact Florida’s status as one of the states with the richest retirees.

5. South Carolina

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 22.5 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 80.2 percent

Unsettling news about reductions in Social Security benefits extends to a number of people beyond the retirement community. In fact, the program provides benefits to a number of people who can’t work for other reasons, like being on long-term disability. In South Carolina, about one in five beneficiaries are receiving disability benefits, according to Social Security Works.

Click to See: Why Millennials Need to Worry About Disability and Social Security

4. Alabama

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 23.1 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 80 percent

In 2016, the average Social Security benefit was $14,547 a year, so a 21 percent cut would mean many seniors would have to get by on even less — just about $11,500, according to Social Security Works.

And although they’ll have an easier time than most — as Alabama is one of the states where it’s easiest for retirees to get by on less — it’s still well less than the nearly $40,000 a year you need to afford a comfortable retirement in the state.

3. Maine

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 25.1 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 77.4 percent

Most of the states among the 10 that would be hit the hardest by Social Security cuts are in the South, but Maine breaks the trend as the lone New England state among the 10. One out of every four Mainers is collecting benefits with the average payout of over $14,000 a year, some 7.8 percent of total personal incomes for the state, according to Social Security Works.

Check Out: What It Takes to Fund One Social Security Check in Every State

2. Arkansas

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 23.1 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 81.6 percent

Arkansas is one of states where your Social Security check will go the furthest, and the Social Security Administration pays out roughly $10 billion a year to over 685,000 residents, according to Social Security Works. That means a significant cut to benefits would have a major impact on the local economy, especially for seniors.

1. West Virginia

Portion of Total Population Collecting Social Security Benefits: 25.5 percent
Portion of Age 60 and Older Households Collecting Benefits: 82.3 percent

Many of the states affected the most by cuts to federal programs are in the rust belt, where reliance on programs like food stamps and Medicaid is more common. However, Social Security pays benefits to over a quarter of the population, distributing $7 billion to almost half a million West Virginians, according to Social Security Works.

And although cuts would likely be a major blow to the state, the low costs there could play an important role in softening the blow. The ability to get more out of each dollar is part of why West Virginia is one of the best states to retire rich

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