Social Security Questions
Social Security History
Social insurance or social security is a government-sponsored program that enables members of society to be eligible for benefits and provides a means for people to have something to look forward to in terms of income for old age or retirement, disability and death.
In the United States, the first Social Security Act was enacted in 1935 and its current amended version has encompassed various social insurance and social welfare programs. It has been reported that Social Security has kept forty percent of Americans aged sixty-five and above out of poverty.
Social Security is considered to be the largest government program in the world. It is the highest expenditure in the federal budget, owning 20.8% of the budget which is higher than the allotted percentage for defense. As of 2003, 37% of the government budget plus an additional 7% from the gross domestic product was spent on social insurance programs.
Among the Social Security programs and amendments that have benefited a lot of people are: the Unemployment Benefits program, State Children’s Health Insurance program or SCHIP, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Federal Old-Age (Retirement), Survivors and Disability Insurance, Grants to States for Medical Assistance Programs or Medicaid, Health Insurance for Aged and Disabled or Medicare, and Supplementary Security Income or SSI.
Social Security is primarily funded through the Federal Insurance Contributions tax or FICA, a payroll tax deducted from the taxpayer’s federal income tax. Contributions or tax deposits are granted to the Social Security Trust Fund that has four accounts: the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund.
The reasons why the social insurance system is important among Americans is because of the different types of Social Security benefits that can be availed by people of different ages and civil status upon eligibility. Payments for these benefits are generated from the trust funds of the Social Security program. Once all the descriptions and conditions are met, the Social Security program will pay the benefits as soon as all documentation and information has been reviewed and filed.
Retired workers and his or her beneficiaries would receive Social Security benefits upon several conditions. A retired worker must be at least sixty-two years old and has worked as regular and covered employee that is long enough to be insured to receive monies that are equal to the primary insurance amount (PIA). This is payable on the normal retirement age of sixty-five. Spouse of the retired worker will get benefits as long as he or she be at least sixty-two years old and has an underage child under his or her care. Divorced spouses, who have been married for at least ten years, will also get Social Security benefits. A child beneficiary, depending on the age, will also get benefits.
Survivor beneficiaries – child of deceased worker, young widow/er, aged widow/er, disabled widow/er and parents of the deceased worker – are granted with several conditions to be eligible to receive benefits from the Social Security program. Parents who are dependent upon the deceased worker must be at least sixty-years old. Child of the deceased worker, depending on the age, can also receive some Social Security benefits. Young widows/ers of the deceased worker must have an underage child (aged sixteen or below) or has a disabled child in order to be eligible for Social Security benefits. Aged widows/ers of the deceased must be at least fifty years old and/or disabled. Upon turning sixty-five, the status will be converted to aged widow or widower.
Social Security benefits are also granted to disabled workers and his or her beneficiaries on several conditions. A disabled worker that has worked in a covered employment long enough to be insured prior to the disability will get benefits. Their spouses must have at least one underage child (ages sixteen and below) under his or her care or be at least sixty-two years old to receive benefits from the Social Security trust. Divorced spouses, who had been married for at least ten years, will also be eligible for these benefits. Child beneficiaries, depending on the age, will also get Social Security benefits upon filing.
Joining or getting a Social Security number (SSN) is tricky. For children, it’s voluntary. Although it’s not mandatory for adults, it’s hard not to have SSN if one plans to work and live in the United States and be eligible for various Social Security benefits. For federal income tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires it as well.
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