Social Security is a government-run program that provides financial support to retired or disabled individuals and their families. The program was established in the United States in the 1930s as part of the New Deal created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The purpose of Social Security is to provide a safety net for individuals who may not have enough savings or support to live comfortably in retirement. The program also provides benefits to people with disabilities and their families.
Eligibility for Social Security benefits is determined by several factors, including age, work history, and income.
Age is the primary factor in determining eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits. Individuals can begin collecting benefits as early as age 62, but the amount they receive will be less than if they wait until full retirement age, which is between 66 and 67, depending on the individual’s birth year. Those who wait until age 70 to collect benefits can receive even higher payouts.
To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, individuals must be unable to work due to a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. They must also have a work history that includes paying Social Security taxes for a certain number of years.
For survivors of a deceased worker, Social Security provides survivor benefits to the spouse, children, or dependent parents of the individual. The benefits available depend on the worker’s work history and the age and relationship of the surviving family members.
While Social Security is considered an entitlement program, meaning that those who meet the eligibility requirements are guaranteed to receive benefits, the program faces a funding shortfall in the coming years. As the baby boomer generation retires in larger numbers, fewer workers will be paying into the program to support those collecting benefits.
To address this issue, some policymakers have called for changes to Social Security, such as raising the retirement age, increasing taxes on high earners, and reducing benefits for higher-income recipients. However, changes to the program are politically difficult, and any changes are likely to face opposition from various groups.
In conclusion, Social Security is a vital program that provides support to millions of Americans in retirement, disability, and as surviving dependents. Eligibility is based on age, work history, and income, and benefits can vary based on these factors. While the program faces funding challenges, it remains an essential part of the social safety net in the United States.