Social Security

SOCIAL SECURITY IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT public program for retirement security in the United States. Ninety percent of Americans who are 65 and older receive benefits from the program, which provides an average of nearly 40 percent of their income.

In 2016, the program provided benefits to more than 60 million retirees, survivors of deceased workers, disabled workers,...Read more

SOCIAL SECURITY PROVIDES BENEFITS on a gender-neutral basis and yet, because of historical differences in the American workplace, family structure, and longevity, the program provides different levels of retirement security for women and men. Women are likely to rely more on Social Security benefits than men.

Women Are More Likely to...Read more

APPROXIMATELY 85 PERCENT of Social Security’s funding currently stems from payroll taxes on earnings of most workers. Employees and employers each pay a tax of 6.2 percent of an employee’s wages, (Federal Insurance Contributions Act [FICA] tax) while self-employed workers pay the entire 12.4 percent (Self-Employment Contributions Act [SECA] tax). The rest of the program’s...Read more

WHEN SOCIAL SECURITY FIRST STARTED PAYING regular monthly benefits in 1940, males born in that year were expected to live about 61.5 years on average and females almost 66 years. In 2015, Americans’ average life expectancy had risen by about 15 years, and is projected to increase further over time. While we are fortunate to live in an era of health and prosperity that supports...Read more

CHANGING BENEFITS TO CURRENT OR FUTURE RETIREES could have a large impact on Social Security, especially in the long term. Benefit changes can provide a solution, or a partial one, to addressing Social Security’s long-term funding challenge. These could include raising Social Security’s full retirement age that would lower the program’s costs. While it would be an extreme...Read more