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Study: Forsyth residents get among most Social Security
Factors included income, cost of living

Forsyth County residents are receiving among the highest annual Social Security payments in Georgia, according to a new study.

Financial technology company SmartAsset looked at where in the country Social Security benefits will cover the most of a person’s cost of living after taxes.

In Georgia, Fayette County south of Atlanta ranked first, with Forsyth County coming in second.

Last year, Forsyth ranked third.

To obtain these numbers, the company looked at the average Social Security income for each county then calculated the taxes a typical retiree would pay on that income based on state-specific Social Security tax rules.

In Georgia, Social Security benefits are not taxed, and the state provides a deduction of $65,000 per person on all types of retirement income for anyone over the age of 64.

Given the state doesn’t tax the benefits, nothing is deducted from them, so net income from benefits are simply the amount retirees get each year.

SmartAsset then looked at how far that net income would go to cover basic necessities and the cost of living, which they determined to be $21,618 in Forsyth County in 2016.

Social Security covered almost 90 percent of cost of living in Forsyth, the county that was found to have the highest cost of living throughout the state.

Cost of living in Forsyth seems to mirror the area’s affluence. According to a 2014 U.S. census report, 43.8 percent of households made $100,000 or more.

For families, that number increased, with 50.3 percent of Forsyth County families making more than $100,000.

Statewide, 20 percent of households made $100,000 or more. For families, the number increased to 25.2 percent.

This, according to the study, factors into why Forsyth County residents receive such high payouts.

Residents receive one credit for every $1,260 earned, and the accumulated credits ultimately determine how much a person receives in Social Security.

The more money a person makes, the more credits they receive, leading to greater payouts.

People can begin collecting benefits at 62, though the federal government does not consider full retirement to be until age 67.

Payment goes up 8 percent for every year after full retirement age, until 70.

For more information on the study, visit