The purpose of this paper is to analyze social security so as
to show the reader what makes it beneficial to us today. .
Throughout my life the words social and security have meant
little more to me than the representation of a small blue card in my wallet,
a consistent and increasingly significant deduction of funds from my weekly
pay-check, and a vague academically-instilled recollection of the potential
for long-term future benefit. In fact, it was not until I researched
pertinent material for this particular project that I truly learned how
markedly beneficial social security will be after my eventual retirement.
Reflecting on precisely how ignorant I had been to the issue prior to my
investigation, I realized a tragic irony which exists quite commonly within
our society today; young people are not taught to save for retirement.
I think that many of my friends do not even think much of saving for
their college graduation, let alone for their retirement. Eventually,
however, most of us will reach a point in our lives where work shall come to
an end, yet the existence of living expenses will not. Social security, many
of us find out; will provide us with a monthly check at this point. What we
do not realize, however, is that this amount is not intended to be used as
our sole source of income.
Unfortunately, the tragic irony is that many of us reach retirement and
realize too late how impossible it would be to live by no other means except
social security. The reality is, that the program is but one benefit, one
addition, and one financial supplement. Its intent is to be combined with
other savings, IRA's, retirement funds and the like. Many senior citizens
retire not fully realizing this and consequently, they are forced to seek
part-time employment to supplement their income. This defeats the purpose of retirement
all together. Since people often expect social security to pay for all or most
of their living expenses, the disappointment that comes with
retirement leads them to maintain negative feelings against the social
security program which is actually at no fault whatsoever.
Once you have reached your retirement age you must notify your employer and the
government agency responsible for paying you benifits. This is the
Social Security Administration. Arrangements must be made to carry private
health insurance over into retirement, and applications must be filed for
government health coverage. While social security is of
great financial benefit to retirees, it must not be mistaken as a financial entity
on which people can live without any other sources of income or savings.
Rather, social security income should be supplemented by money from
pensions, investments such as Individual Retirement Accounts
(IRAs) or other means.
In addition to providing financial aid to the retired, social
security has two other aspects: Should the worker die before retirement,
benefits go to survivors: to widows or widowers and to children until they
reach a specific age, usually 18. Should a worker become disabled, income
maintenance is provided. Temporary injury, however, is usually covered by
workmen's compensation programs.
In the United States social security is a contributory system. Workers
and their employers both make contributions in the form of payroll taxes. A
few countries maintain universal pension plans paid from general revenues.
Other countries have assistance for those not covered by social security or
for those whose benefits are inadequate.
There are some exceptions to social security coverage. Government
workers, including the military, often have their own pension plans. The
self-employed and those who work for nonprofit organizations have also been
excluded, but in the United States this policy has been changing.
. In the United States there was no general
government-supported health plan until the passage of Medicare and Medicaid
in 1965 as amendments to the Social Security Act. (The exception was the
medical service offered through Veterans Administration hospitals.) Medicare,
however, is not a general health plan available to the whole population. Its
benefits are for retired persons who have been part of the social security
system. And Medicare does not cover the whole cost of hospitalization or
other services. Therefore, similar to the notion that retirees must not rely
solely on income from social security, they also must not rely solely on
related health insurance.
The social security benefit formula is designed so that if an individual
who maintains average earnings all through their working life and retires at
full retirement age, (currently 65), will have a social security benefit
equalling approximately 4 0% of their earnings just prior to retirement. If,
however, a retiree had minimum wage earnings all of their life, social
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