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It takes a village

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  • | 10:00 a.m. June 3, 2016
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The Villages, a large senior community about 100 miles north of Tampa, has another claim to fame: It helps make Sumter County the best place in Florida to get the most out of U.S. Social Security benefits.

That distinction comes from financial technology firm SmartAsset, which analyzed where Social Security benefits go the furthest in the United States. The survey looked at the average social security income for each county nationwide, and then calculated the taxes a typical retiree would pay on that income based on state-specific rules. The taxes were subtracted from the average social security income to determine the net social security income. SmartAsset then calculated how far that net income would go to cover basic necessities.

The results are indexed to 100, with 100 showing where social security would cover the most needs. A higher score reflects a better environment for living primarily or exclusively of social security benefits.

Sumter County, in the index, earned a 99.56 score. That's 14 points ahead of No. 2 in Florida, Baker County, and good for No. 3 nationwide. In the top 10 for Florida, two counties are on the Gulf Coast. Charlotte County, with an 84.72 score, ranked third and Collier County, with a 78.38 score, ranked sixth.


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