Social Security Is Thought Of As For Seniors But The Program Also Provides Financial Security To Those Who Are Disabled And Survivors Of A Beneficiary
The Social Security was established with the passage of Social Security Act of 1935 when the effects of the Great Depression laid bare the inadequacies of the patchwork of local, state and family networks to care for the elderly.
The legislation passed by Congress and signed by Franklin D Roosevelt The bill included unemployment insurance, benefits for victims of industrial accidents and aid for their survivors, as well as financial support for the blind and the physically handicapped.
Fact #: Social Security Provides A Guaranteed Progressive Benefit That Keeps Up With Increases In The Cost Of Living
Social Security benefits are based on the earnings on which people pay Social Security payroll taxes. The higher their earnings , the higher their benefit.
Social Security benefits are progressive: they represent a higher proportion of a workers previous earnings for workers at lower earnings levels. For example, benefits for a low earner retiring at age 65 in 2021 replace about half of their prior earnings. But benefits for a high earner replace about 30 percent of prior earnings, though they are larger in dollar terms than those for the low-wage worker.
Many employers have shifted from offering traditional defined-benefit pension plans, which guarantee a certain benefit level upon retirement, toward defined-contribution plans s), which pay a benefit based on a workers contributions and the rate of return they earn. Social Security, therefore, will be most workers only source of guaranteed retirement income that is not subject to investment risk or financial market fluctuations.
Once someone starts receiving Social Security, their benefits increase to keep pace with inflation, helping to ensure that people do not fall into poverty as they age. In contrast, most private pensions and annuities are not adjusted for inflation.
The Three Programs Of Social Security
The Social Security Administration oversees the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, best known for providing retirement benefits to seniors, but as the name indicates, it also provides survivor benefits and disability income. Workers pay into the systemthrough a payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax or Self Employed Contributions Act Tax .
During any given year a contributor to the Social Security program can earn up to four credits. In order to be eligible for benefits upon retirement you need to earn 40 credits, but there is a different calculation for survivors and disabled beneficiaries. The amount received in benefits and what you pay in per credit change each year based on the annual cost of living adjustment .
How do I check the status of a pending application for benefits? #SSAFAQ
In 2021, one credit is granted for every $1,470 in covered earnings until a maximum of $5,880 which is equal to four credits. Over a lifetime of work you may earn more credits than the minimum but this does not affect the benefits you receive. The funds collected from FICA and SECA go into two Social Security trust funds, one for old-age and survivors, the other for disability beneficiaries, which are used to pay out benefits.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Someone’s Social Security Number
Read A Brief Summary Of This Topic
social security, any of the measures established by legislation to maintain individual or family income or to provide income when some or all sources of income are disrupted or terminated or when exceptionally heavy expenditures have to be incurred . Thus social security may provide cash benefits to persons faced with sickness and disability, unemployment, crop failure, loss of the marital partner, maternity, responsibility for the care of young children, or retirement from work. Social security benefits may be provided in cash or kind for medical need, rehabilitation, domestic help during illness at home, legal aid, or funeral expenses. Social security may be provided by court order , by employers , by central or local government departments, or by semipublic or autonomous agencies.
The International Labour Organisation uses three criteria to define a social security system. First, the objective of the system must be to grant curative or preventive medical care, to maintain income in case of involuntary loss of earnings or of an important part of earnings, or to grant a supplementary income to persons having family responsibilities. Second, the system must have been set up by legislation that attributes specified individual rights to, or that imposes specified obligations on, a public, semipublic, or autonomous body. And third, the system should be administered by a public, semipublic, or autonomous body.
Fact #: Social Security Benefits Are Modest
Social Security benefits are much more modest than many people realize the average Social Security retirement benefit in January 2022 was about $1,614 per month, or about $19,370 per year. For someone who worked all of their adult life at average earnings and retires at age 65 in 2022, Social Security benefits replace about 37 percent of past earnings. Social Securitys replacement rate fell as the programs full retirement age gradually rose from 65 in 2000 to 67 in 2022.
Most retirees enroll in Medicares Supplementary Medical Insurance and have Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. As health care costs continue to outpace general inflation, those premiums will take a bigger bite out of their checks.
Social Security benefits are also modest by international standards. The U.S. ranks just outside the bottom third of developed countries in the percentage of an average workers earnings replaced by the public pension system.
Social Security is important for children and their families as well as for older adults. Over 6.5 million children under age 18 lived in families who received income from Social Security in 2019. That number included nearly 2.8 million children who received their benefits as dependents of retired, disabled, or deceased workers, as well as others who lived with parents or relatives who received Social Security benefits.
Social Security lifted 1.1 million children above the poverty line in 2020, as the chart shows.
Recommended Reading: How To Lock Your Social Security Number
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
The Social Security Disability Insurance program pays disability benefits to workers and certain family members who become disabled and qualify for benefits based on their earnings history. Recipients must have worked a sufficient number of qualifying quarters of employment and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings in order to qualify. Those who qualify based on the non-medical criteria must then meet the medical requirements to qualify for benefits. The worker must have a medical condition that is certified to either last for at least a year or end in death. It should be noted that it is very difficult to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, and well over half of all Social Security Disability applications that are received are rejected. It is much easier to qualify for most types of privately issued disability insurance coverage than it is to qualify for Social Security disability.
Total Benefits Paid By Year
Workers in Social Security covered employment pay FICA or SECA taxes and earn quarters of coverage if earnings are above minimum amounts specified in the law. Workers with 40 quarters of coverage are fully insured and eligible for retirement benefits. Retirement benefit amounts depend upon the average of the persons highest 35 years of adjusted or indexed earnings. A persons payroll-taxable earnings from earlier years are adjusted for economy-wide wage growth, using the national average wage index , and then averaged. If the worker has fewer than 35 years of covered earnings these non-contributory years are assigned zero earnings. The sum of the highest 35 years of adjusted or indexed earnings divided by 420 produces a persons Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME.
The AIME is then used to calculate the Primary Insurance Amount or PIA. For workers who turn 62 in 2021, the PIA computation formula is:
90 percent of the first $996 of average indexed monthly earnings, plus
32 percent of average indexed monthly earnings between $996 and $6,002, plus
15 percent of average indexed monthly earnings over $6,002
Monthly benefit amounts are based on the PIA. Once the PIA is computed, it is indexed for price inflation over time. Thus, Social Security monthly benefit amounts retain their purchasing power throughout a persons retirement years.
What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
Fact #: Social Security Is Especially Beneficial For Women
Social Security is especially important for women, because they tend to earn less than men, take more time out of the paid workforce, live longer, accumulate less savings, and receive smaller pensions. Women represent more than half of Social Security beneficiaries in their 60s and 7 in 10 beneficiaries in their 90s. In addition, women make up 96 percent of Social Security survivor beneficiaries.
Dont Miss: Aarp Medicare Supplement Plan K Benefits
If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment
If you receive a check or direct deposit payment from the Treasury Department and do not know what its for, contact the regional financial center that issued it. Only the agency that authorized the payment can explain why you received it.
If you received a check, look for the RFCs city and state at the top center. Then contact that RFC to find out which federal agency authorized the payment. It will be one of these:
If you received payment byelectronic funds transfer , or direct deposit, follow the directions under Find Information About a Payment.
Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitimate and issued by the government.
Claim Of Discrimination Against The Poor And The Middle Class
Workers must pay 12.4 percent, including a 6.2 percent employer contribution, on their wages below the Social Security Wage Base , but no tax on income in excess of this amount. Therefore, high earners pay a lower percentage of their total income because of the income caps because of this, and the fact there is no tax on unearned income, social security taxes are often viewed as being regressive. However, benefits are adjusted to be significantly more progressive, even when accounting for differences in life expectancy. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, for people in the bottom fifth of the earnings distribution, the ratio of benefits to taxes is almost three times as high as it is for those in the top fifth.
Restrictions On Potentially Deceptive Communications
Because of the importance of Social Security to millions of Americans, many direct-mail marketers packaged their mailings to resemble official communications from the Social Security Administration, hoping recipients would be more likely to open them. In response, Congress amended the Social Security Act in 1988 to prohibit the private use of the phrase “Social Security” and several related terms in any way that would convey a false impression of approval from the Social Security Administration. The constitutionality of this law was upheld in United Seniors Association, Inc. v. Social Security Administration, 423 F.3d 397 , cert den 547 U.S. 1162 126 S.Ct. 2346 .
About The Authortrue Tamplin Bsc Cepf
True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.
True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance , author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.
You May Like: Can I Go To Any Social Security Office
What Is Supplemental Security Income
The third type of Social Security support is Supplemental Security Income , which provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability and who have income and resources below certain thresholds. The support is also available for those aged 65 and over whose financial means place them below the thresholds.
Unlike the previous two forms, SSI is not funded by specific Social Security taxes and is instead funded by general tax revenues. Some states opt to enhance SSI payments for their residents, so the amount on offer varies across the country. Your entitlement is also based on factors such as historic wages, pension status and personal situation.
What Are Social Security Retirement Benefits
More than 52 million of the 70 million who claim Social Security, do so through their retirement benefits. For nearly every worker in the United States, a proportion of their lifetime wages will have been contributed to the Social Security pay pot to ensure that they have a source of income in retirement.
When you reach retirement age, or at least when you start claiming retirement benefits, the SSA will calculate your entitlement from your 35 highest-earning years. The point at which you can claim your maximum payment is known as full entitlement age and it varies between 66 and 67 years old, depending on your year of birth.
Apply for Social Security retirement benefits.
Don’t Miss: Collin County Social Security Office
Applying For Your Benefits
For some people, the process of applying for one of these types of Social Security benefits can be difficult, so you may need guidance to help see you through. An experienced attorney can help you to navigate this sometimes complicated system and get the money youve worked hard to earn.
About the Author:
A lifelong Minnesotan, founding partner Ronald R. Envall has spent his entire legal career fighting for the little guy, focusing on workers compensation, Social Security, and personal injury cases. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers as a Top Rated Attorney in Duluth, placing him in the top 5 percent of all workers comp lawyers across the state. In his free time, Mr. Envall serves on the boards of several area government and nonprofit organizations and is a member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, which supports consumer rights.
When Can You Collect Social Security
Many people still think of age 65 as the age to retire, but that has changed. To collect full benefits, you cannot apply for Social Security until you are:
- 66, if born in the 19431954 range
- 66 and 2 months, if born in 1955
- 66 and 4 months, if born in 1956
- 66 and 6 months, if born in 1957
- 66 and 8 months, if born in 1958
- 66 and 10 months, if born in 1959
- 67, if born in 1960 or later
If you delay retirement to age 70, then you will receive increased Social Security benefits. The percentage will depend on the year you were born, with a maximum 8% increase as the max. You can also choose to start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefits will be reduced.
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
Private Retirement Savings Crisis
While inflation-adjusted stock market values generally rose from 1978 to 1997, from 1998 through 2007 they were higher than in March 2013. This has caused workers’ supplemental retirement plans such as 401s to perform substantially more poorly than expected when current retirees were investing the bulk of their savings in them. In 2010, the median household retirement account balance for workers aged 55 to 64 was $120,000, which will provide only a trivial supplement to Social Security benefits, but about a third of households had no retirement savings at all. 75% of Americans nearing retirement age had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts, which Forbes called “the greatest retirement crisis in American history.”
Read Also: Protect Your Social Security Number
Office Of Hearings Operations
On August 8, 2017, Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill informed employees that the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review would be renamed to Office of Hearings Operations . The hearing offices had been known as “ODAR” since 2006, and the Office of Hearings and Appeals before that. OHO administers the ALJ hearings for the Social Security Administration. Administrative Law Judges conduct hearings and issue decisions. After an ALJ decision, the Appeals Council considers requests for review of ALJ decisions, and acts as the final level of administrative review for the Social Security Administration .