After tax season, take a few minutes to go online and read your Social Security statement. Even if your retirement is 30 or 40 years away, you need to know where you stand now. The Government Accountability Office tells us that nearly a third of households with members ages 55 and up have no retirement savings plan or pension in place—zip. That means Social Security is the only post-retirement pay they’ll get – and the estimated average monthly benefit for retirees (as of 2017) is just $1,360. (See what I mean by “not enough”?) Continue reading
On this day in 1940, a 65-year-old legal secretary named Ida May Fuller became the first monthly Social Security beneficiary. A few months earlier, she had stopped by her local Social Security office in Vermont to learn how the program works. She knew she had paid into Social Security but wasn’t sure if she would get anything back out. A clerk at the office helped her apply for retirement benefits. Continue reading
Every payday, you have Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) taxes deducted from your paycheck. Nearly all of these contributions are used to pay Social Security benefits to more than 60 million retired, disabled, and widowed workers and their children, as well as to Medicare beneficiaries. A very small amount also helps pay for the work it takes to manage Social Security programs.
Providing Social Security services to the public is a big job. We have fewer than 64,000 employees in offices across the country handling millions of transactions yearly — taking applications, answering questions in person and on the phone, verifying benefit amounts, and reviewing appeals, among other things. The cost of doing these services is less than one penny out of each dollar paid in FICA and SECA taxes, which is a very good value. Continue reading
It’s 2017, and that means you might be one more year closer to retirement. Whether you’re at your very first job or wrapping up a successful career, there are always new things to learn about when it comes to saving for the future. So why not make retirement planning part of your New Year’s resolution!
Putting money in a high yield savings account (if you can find one) is always smart, but you can do even more. The U.S. Department of the Treasury now offers a retirement savings option called myRA. There’s no minimum to open the account, you can contribute what you can afford, and you can withdraw funds with ease. To learn more about myRA, visit www.myra.gov/.
Hopefully, your employer chips in a little. An employer-sponsored retirement plan or 401(k) can be a useful way to set aside funds for retirement, especially if your employer offers matching funds on what you invest. If you don’t work for an employer that offers this type of plan, there are many other plans designed to help you save for retirement.
From solo 401(k)s to traditional and Roth IRAs, there are programs designed to fit a multitude of budgets. The earlier you start to save, the more funds you’ll have ready for retirement.
And, as always, there is Social Security, which is funded by taxes you pay while you work. To get estimates of future benefits and check your earnings record for accuracy, you can create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Along with giving up bad habits, this New Year start a good habit that can make a lasting, positive change.
We have all received gifts we’ve wanted to return: ugly socks or sweaters that look exactly like the one you got (or gave!) last year. Sometimes, just letting loved ones know that you’re there for them, no matter what, is the best gift of all. And you avoid the embarrassment of giving an awkward gift! Social Security is also there for you and your family — all year long. Continue reading
The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it family gatherings and familiar traditions. As you bustle about from place to place, sharing turkey dinners and catching up with loved ones, there’s one errand you can avoid — a visit to the Social Security office. Why take time out of your busy holiday schedule to visit an office when you can conduct most of your business online? Continue reading
Social Security is always looking for ways to improve how we communicate with you. It’s been a year-and-a-half since we joined the blogosphere, and we couldn’t be happier! This blog is exactly what we envisioned, an honest conversation with you about our programs, the topics that matter to you, and how our agency can better serve you. Continue reading
Every year, millions of Americans become victims of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personally identifiable information and pretends to be you. They can use this information to open bank or credit card accounts, file taxes, or make new purchases in your name. Continue reading
Social Security’s Acting Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin, likes to tell this amusing story. A colleague’s teenage daughter came home bursting with excitement after receiving her first paycheck. But she had one question about her earnings statement.
“Well, Dad” — she asked him earnestly — “who is this FICA?” Continue reading
Social Security is here to secure today and tomorrow. We’re the only federal agency that touches every aspect of your life from birth through retirement to death and beyond, helping to care for your surviving family. Part of this commitment is our active participation and presence in our communities. Continue reading