B. Who Benefits?

Who benefits from Social Security has been the central focus of research for many years. As discussed above, both workers and employers pay for Social Security. Additionally, the Social Security disbursement policy is established with the intent of being neutral to gender, race, and ethnicity. However, research indicates that the outcome of the Social Security disbursement metric is not completely neutral. For example, “African-American seniors are disproportionately dependent on Social Security for their retirement income.” Additionally, minority groups on average have disproportional wage earnings, combined with lower life expectancies over time, which dramatically affects the overall yield on investment in terms of full realization of Social Security benefits. Furthermore, African-Americans and minorities have less retirement income from other sources on average than whites.

This disparity in retirement income can be attributed to several causes. Traditionally, African-Americans lack other sources of income and have proportionately less income generating assets than their white counterparts. Wealth in the form of income-producing assets *493 serves as a source of industrial financial or commercial resources. Additionally, income producing assets allow for self-expansion in the form of education and other intangible experiences that allow for the possibility of additional income sources. Most importantly, income producing assets allow for income in retirement and the ability to sustain future generations. A strong portfolio of income generating investments results in overall greater security in retirement in addition to an accumulation of generational wealth.

The results of limited access to this additional stream of capital in the form of asset generating income create a serious disparity overall in terms of calculating overall net-worth. A decline in alternative form of retirement income places a greater need for the income that comes from Social Security. As noted above, Social Security was intended to serve as one of three legs in a sound retirement system. However, for a disproportionate number of minorities, Social Security serves as the only leg of their retirement portfolio. Consequently, “[a]bout three-fourths of minority beneficiaries rely on Social Security for at least half their income, while only two-thirds of whites rely on it to the same extent.” A more troubling statistic indicates that “[a]lmost half of the minority beneficiaries (forty-five percent of blacks and forty-four percent of Hispanics) relied on Social Security for ninety percent of more of their income, compared with twenty percent of whites.”