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What is Social Security and how does it benefit you?

Social Security is a public program designed to provide income and services when you retire, become sick or disabled, upon death and in some cases, if you become unemployed.

It is based on the concept of working and paying taxes into the system. The Social Security taxes you and other workers pay are used to pay for Social Security benefits. You must work and pay taxes into Social Security in order to get benefits.

Note: Some people get benefits as a dependent or survivor on another person's Social Security record.

Eighty five cents of every dollar paid into the Social Security Trust Fund pays monthly benefits to retirees and their families and to widows, widower, and to children of workers who have died. Fifteen cents goes to a fund that pays benefits to people with disabilities and their families.

The entire amount of taxes you pay for Medicare goes to a trust fund that pays for some of the costs of hospital and related care of all Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare is administered by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

When you retire, become disabled, or if you die, you, your spouse and or dependent children will receive monthly benefits based on what you earned during your working years.

Although most people think of getting the benefits after retirement, Social Security can be received at any age depending on the circumstances.

Social Security is not intended to take care of all your financial needs but is basically a package of retirement, disability and survivor protections to help maintain your standard of living.

Your Social Security number is the first link with Social Security. You need it to get employment and to pay taxes. Without your Social Security number, you won't be able to pay into the program and you won't be able to collect benefits.

Social Security numbers are used to track earnings while you are working and to track your benefits once you start getting Social Security benefits. It is also links you to the IRS.

The amount of your Social Security benefit is based on your date of birth, the type of benefit you apply for and your lifetime earnings. This amount is adjusted based on the cost of living.

Disability under Social Security is based on your inability to work or if you are determined by the Social Security Administration not to be able to adjust to other work. Your disability must last for at least a year or is expected to result in death.

Your Social Security disability benefit may be reduced if you get worker's compensation or certain other government disability benefits. Or your Social Security benefits may reduce your other disability payments.

The sum of all disability payments to your and your family cannot exceed eighty percent of your earnings averaged over a period of time shortly before you became disabled.

When you start collecting Social Security retirement or disability benefits, other members of your family also may be eligible for payments.

Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit that is up to fifty percent of your retirement or disability benefit amount. However, there is a limit to the total amount of money that can be paid to a family on your Social Security record.

If you are divorced, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record. In some situations, he or she may get benefits even if you are not receiving them.

Note:  Contact your local Social Security Administration Office for all the latest updates on benefits and filing requirements.



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