* Median: Half the labor force earns more, half earns less.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median weekly earnings of the nation's 105.5 million full-time wage and salary workers were $771 a week in the third quarter of 2013 ($40,092 a year before taxes).
The median weekly wages and salaries were 1.7 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 1.6 percent in the CPI-U --- the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers.
Men and women employed in service jobs (e.g. fast food, retail, etc.) earned the least $562 a week for men ($29,224 a year) and $447 for women ($23,244 a year) before taxes.
By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $479 ($24,908 a year), compared with $659 ($34,268 a year) for high school graduates (no college) and $1,174 ($61,048 a year) for those holding at least a bachelor's degree.
According to the Social Security Administration (for 2012), the "raw" average for ALL 153.6 million wage earners (which also includes part-time workers) was $42,498 a year before taxes. About 67.1 percent of wage earners had NET compensation "less than or equal to" the $42,498.21 raw average wage.
By definition, 50 percent of all wage earners had NET compensation "less than or equal to" the median wage, which is estimated to be $27,519 for 2012.
||Expect to be paid $15,080 (gross) a year for a minimum wage full time job and pay (on average) $13,092 a year to rent a one bedroom
apartment (so you might need a roommate or live in a single-room place.)
THIS IS YOUR LIFE --- The table below is for someone living alone on a Social Security disability benefit (who averages $1,130 a month for a SSDI benefit -- or $13,560 a year, which is less than the minimum wage).
|Your monthly expenses in a best case scenario are:|
|0||Your car is paid off --- no auto payments|
|50||Auto insurance, if driving (no collision, enough to legally drive)|
|150||Electric, heat, gas, water, etc. (minimum use -- no A/C)|
|25||Landline phone or cell phone (basic service for emergencies)|
|50||Gasoline, if driving (minimum driving for groceries, doctor, etc.)|
|600||Rent (loft, motel, spare room or efficiency apartment)|
|200||Food (what a single person used to get for food stamps)|
|- 1,075||Total (basic living expenses)|
|[$1,130 ]||Average monthly Social Security disability benefit|
|= $55||Balance left over each month for...|
...doctor's co-pay and medications (if not covered by Medicare), car repairs
(if driving), toiletries, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc. --- then hope that nothing else (such as a
TV or computer) ever has to be repaired or replaced. Vacations, dinners out, beers at the bar (or anything else) will be nothing but a memory. You'll be living just to watch TV, eat, sleep and engage in whatever hobbies you
might have that aren't too expensive --- THIS IS YOUR LIFE.
And that's the best case scenario. Most people are not even awarded on their Social Security disability claims, so many commit suicide to escape being homeless if they don't have a friend or family member that they can move in with. If they are denied SSDI benefits, but they do have a place to live, they might get food stamps (now $187 a month for a single person), TANF ($300 a month if they're single with no children) and Medicaid (but dental is very limited if available).