The graph below shows the number of people (in thousands) awarded Social Security benefits on the basis of their earnings. We call such awards primary awards. The two types of primary awards are awards to retired workers and awards to disabled workers.

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For both the retired worker awards (top of graph) and disabled worker awards (bottom), we show both the monthly number (thinner line) and the corresponding 12-month moving average (thicker line).

The first cohort of baby boomers, who were born in 1946, reached age 62 in 2008. The graph above shows the number of awards to retired workers increasing beginning in 2008.

If a beneficiary is entitled to both a primary benefit (as a retired or disabled worker) and another benefit (say as a spouse or widow(er)), the person is counted only once in our statistics as a primary beneficiary.