Social Security Helps Many Retirees Survive}

June 13, 2018 0

in Wealth Management @ 1:19 am

Submitted by: Eric Bayne

The very first Social Security check was sent through the mail in 1940 even though President Roosevelt had signed the Social Security Act into law, 5 years earlier. Ever since, many American retirees have been grateful to receive that monthly financial safety net as they entered their retirement years. It’s difficult to believe that Social Security has been with us for sixty plus years.

In the original incarnation of the bill, Social Security benefits were only to be paid to the primary worker. But, before the bill went live, additional benefits for the spouse and children were added.

Quite a few folks erroneously think that the Social Security system is equivalent to an investment annuity, in which you send money to the government. They will then invest it and give you the resulting income in monthly payments for the rest of your life. In fact, however, the system is closer to a government welfare program. The collection of payroll taxes , which finances the Social Security program, is managed under the authorization of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, better known as FICA. FICA is like the enforcement arm of the system. It ensures that every worker “contributes” his or her fair share to the government pool.

Each new generation of workers is responsible for taking care of the previous generation’s retirees. The amount of money you eventually get back from the government has only a tenuous relationship to the amount of money that was deducted from your check over the years. Since it’s inception, the system has collected from contributors and paid out over nine trillion dollars to recipients.

But the 1940 statute did not merely quit with allowing retirees to collect benefits. The law also consisted of the first incarnations of the welfare and unemployment systems which are still very much in evidence today.

Today, with millions of people losing their jobs every month, with our financial systems going into the toilet, and the housing crisis exploding around us – these safety nets are becoming more important than ever. Many retired women, especially, are just barely able to make ends meet with the help of Social Security. This is because, although gradually changing, women today are less likely than men to have additional sources of income. Partly due to working less years in the workforce because of child raising responsibilities. And partly because, even while in the work force, women typically are paid less than men.

But all families are helped by Social Security, even those that don’t need it to survive. In fact, according to independent studies, if Social Security was eliminated, many retired families would experience a drop in their living standards of 70% or more.

Many people fear that the system cannot sustain itself. In fact, there have been times in the past when the amount of money paid to recipients exceeded the amount of money collected via FICA. In these cases, Trust bonds were sold to make up the shortfall. Because of circumstances like these, Congress has occasionally upped the percentage of gross income that FICA can collect from salaries. Even these modifications, however, as the population ages and simultaneously live longer, may not be enough to sustain the system without drastic changes to the system.

The Social Security program is the largest government program of the country – constituting over twenty percent of the federal budget. As some politicians look at cutting the size and expenses of government, this program has an inviting target on its back. To many people, however, the cost of losing this critical system could ultimately be much more than the cost of running budget deficits.

About the Author: Eric Bayne is writer and researcher for . Many retirees are traveling more these days. Visit his site to learn more about

retirement travel ideas

as well as other retirement related issues.


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