PICKENS COUNTY — In their second annual study on where in the country Social Security benefits go the farthest, New York financial technology company Smart Asset placed Pickens County at number seven — up from 14 last year.
“The study analyzes Social Security income, cost of living data, and taxes across all counties to determine where people are getting the most mileage out of Social Security,” said Smart Asset representative Steve Sabato.
Pickens County came in just behind Spartanburg and Lancaster counties with an average annual Social Security draw of $18,414. Cost of living in the county is averaged at $18,315.
Beaufort, McCormick, Laurens and Georgetown counties were at the top of the list with Aiken, Greenville and Oconee counties placing eighth ninth and 10th, respectively.
The study was conducted utilizing data from MIT, US Census Bureau 2014 American Community Survey and state government websites.
“First, we looked at the average Social Security income for each county. Then we calculated the taxes a typical retiree would pay on that income based on the state-specific Social Security tax rules,” said Sabato. “We subtracted the taxes from that average Social Security income to determine the net income from Social Security.”
The company then calculated how far that net income typically would go in every county to cover basic necessities.
“We subtracted the county-level cost of typical living expenses from each county’s net Social Security income. Finally, we indexed the results to 100, with 100 showing where Social Security would cover the most needs. Higher scores reflect a better environment for living primarily or exclusively off of Social Security benefits,” he said.
Pickens County scored a 76.13 on the index.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.