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Social Security

Social Security is a federal program that provides insurance benefits to retired workers, disabled workers and survivors of deceased workers; hospital and medical insurance to the aged and disabled; and unemployment insurance. Learn the basics at the following sites:

  • Social Security Online
    The official site shows you how to request a statement indicating how much you’ve paid, answers frequently asked questions and outlines what to do in cases of identity theft.

  • The National Center for Policy Analysis
    Confronts the issue of Social Security reform. It offers various viewpoints, public opinion surveys and presidential candidates’ positions.

  • Public Agenda Online
    Offers a collection of public opinion surveys and a fact file that presents Social Security basics and trends.

How It's Financed

Employees earn social security credits that carry over from job to job throughout life. An employee’s benefits are based on earnings averaged over his or her lifetime. The Social Security Administration's benefit calculators can help you forecast your benefits. The National Center for Policy Analysis also offers a social security calculator.




The Heritage Foundation estimates the amount of money you can expect to contribute in taxes and receive in benefits over your lifetime, based on only your age and gender. You can enter additional information for more accurate results.

A number of factors may affect your retirement benefits, including when you begin to receive benefits, when you retire, inflation and whether or not you are a government worker with a pension. Refer to this SSA publication for more details.

The Social Security Administration offers many publications to help Americans understand different areas of the program. The site has also answered 395 frequently asked questions frequently asked questions.

The History

In the 1930s, the Great Depression flattened the economy and left many people without means of help. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, creating a federal program for unemployment insurance, old-age aid and aid to dependent children, and offering federal grants to states for workers’ insurance plans and medical care. Disability insurance was added to the Social Security program in 1954, and Medicare was added in 1965.

The Social Security Administration's History Page connects surfers to essays on the historical development of social security, key dates and presidential quotes. The History Page's FAQ section outlines everything from benefit history to the significance of Social Security numbers.

Social Security Today

  • More than 45 million people collect some kind of Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration.

  • Public Agenda reports that more than half of America’s retirees depend on social security for at least half their income.

  • Sixty-three percent of social security collectors are retired workers. Thirteen percent collect benefits on the basis of disabilities, according to the administration.

  • When the first Social Security check was issued in 1940, there were 42 workers for each retiree, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. Today there are just over three.

Tomorrow's Social Security

The largest generation in the history of the nation, the Baby Boomers, will soon retire and collect Social Security. As they prepare to retire, the government is scrambling to find a way to continue to guarantee social security benefits.


   --- L. Judge

 
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