Disability, Retirement, Survivors

Celebrating Social Security and Building on Its Proven Success

September 3, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: September 3, 2015

A group of diverse people join hands in cooperation.Social Security has transformed the nation. Before its enactment, growing old was something to be feared.  People worked as long as they could, but when they grew old or became disabled, they invariably lost their jobs and had no choice but to move in with their children. If that was impossible, they literally went to the poorhouse.  At the time Social Security was enacted, every state but New Mexico had poorhouses. The vast majority of poorhouse residents had once been independent workers.  Also, when wage earners died, there was often insufficient income for children to remain with their widowed parents and siblings.But Social Security has changed all of that.  Today, the wages and salaries of nearly all workers are insured by Social Security against loss as the result of death, disability, or old age.  Retirees, widow(er)s, children who have lost parents, our soldiers wounded in combat, and other working Americans who have become disabled are among the nearly 60 million beneficiaries who receive Social Security’s guaranteed, monthly income.

Social Security works so well and is so popular because it embodies the best of American and religious values — rewarding hard work, taking responsibility for ourselves and our families, honoring our parents, caring for our neighbors, and managing our resources prudently and responsibly.  By law, Social Security cannot pay benefits unless it has sufficient income to cover all costs — without a penny of borrowing.  According to the most recent Trustees Report, Social Security ran a surplus of $25 billion last year alone and has an accumulated surplus of $2.8 trillion.

Thanks to dedicated, hard-working civil servants, Social Security is extremely efficient.  It spends less than one penny of every dollar on administration.  The rest is paid in benefits.  It is also extremely affordable.  Social Security’s actuaries project that at the end of this century, it will cost only 6.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product, a much lower percentage than what many other countries pay on their counterpart Social Security programs today.  It is 95 percent funded over the next 25 years; 88 percent funded over the next fifty years.

Its one shortcoming is that its benefits are extremely modest by virtually any measure.   That is why a growing number of elected leaders and Social Security experts are proposing plans to expand those modest benefits, while ensuring that all benefits can be paid over the long term.  As the wealthiest nation in the world, at the wealthiest moment in our history, we can certainly afford to expand Social Security’s modest benefits.

Whether we, as a nation, decide to expand Social Security’s benefits, keep them at their scheduled levels, or cut them is most definitely not a matter of affordability.  Rather, that choice is a matter of values and priorities.

Note: In honor of Labor Day, we have invited Maya MacGuineas and Nancy Altman as  guest bloggers on Social Security Matters.  We thank them for taking the time to share their narratives with our followers and allowing us to showcase the diversity of individuals in support of Social Security on this important holidayHave a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

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About the Author

Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, and Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition

President of Social Security Works, and Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition


  1. Leslie L.

    I am now not able to work. Three Strokes have almost crippled me.what am I too do? Kill myself?

  2. Dean H.

    You speak of extending social security benefits completely ignoring that the social security system will be bankrupt in a few years since revenue income does not match payouts. Are you blind to this fact and just continue to support a failed system? How do you propose to make the system pay for itself? What is the fix…….you are in charge, admit defeat anf at least study and propose fixes.

  3. Hospitals &.

    Social Security Amendment of 2016

    Free Disability Insurance Reallocation Tax (DIRT) Act

    To immediately amend the DI tax rate from 1.80% to 2.30%, from 0.90% to 1.15% for employees and from 0.90% to 1.15% for employers under Sec. 201(b)(1)(S) of the Social Security Act 42USC(7)II§401 and amend the OASI tax rate from 10.60% to 10.10%, from 5.30% to 5.05% for employees under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3101 (a) and from 5.30% to 5.05% for employers under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3111 (a) to avoid depletion of the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund in 2016 without increasing the overall 12.4% OASDI or 15.3% OASDI and Hospital Insurance (HI) tax-rate under 26USC(A)(2)§1401 beginning October 1, 2015.

    To amend the DI tax rate again in 2018 to 2.20% from 2.30%, from 1.15% to 1.10% for employees and from 1.15% to 1.10% for employers under Sec. 201(b)(1)(S) of the Social Security Act 42USC(7)II§401 and amend the OASI tax rate from 10.10% to 10.20%, from 5.05% to 5.10% for employees under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3101 (a) and from 5.05% to 5.10% for employers under 26USC(C)(21)(A)§3111 (a) without increasing the overall 12.4% OASDI or 15.3% OASDI and Hospital Insurance (HI) tax-rate under 26USC(A)(2)§1401 to maximize efficiency until a deficit appears in the OASI Trust Fund in 2019.

    Without Income Limit Law (WILL) Act

    To abolish the maximum taxable limit on DI contributions on January 1, 2016 and OASI contributions January 1, 2017 and repeal Adjustment of the contribution and benefit base Section 230 of the Social Security Act 42USC(7)§430.

    To require the Social Security Administration to pay for SSI Costs beginning January 1, 2017.

    To share profits in excess of social security program costs to the general fund of the U.S Treasury on a sliding scale beginning year end 2016 DI 50/50 with the USPS, and OASI 10/90 to eliminate the federal budget deficit. In 2020 OASI would share at negotiated rates an estimated 25/75, by 2025 OASDI would share 50/50 and by 2030 OASDI would save to pay for the peak in costs of Baby Boomer generation in 2035 that might raise the overall OASDI tax rate from 12.4%.

    Now hiring SSA Actuaries for more and less than $118,500 a year. “Tax evasion” is typically used in the criminal context, as in someone who is charged with the crime of tax evasion in violation of 26 USC § 7201. Tax evasion usually entails a deliberate act of misrepresentation of taxable income to the IRS. Common examples of acts which could result in a charge of tax evasion are: not declaring all your income, deliberately overstating expenses or deductions, or failing to file tax returns when you have taxable income in an attempt to avoid detection. Attempt to evade or defeat tax 26USC§7201 occurs when; Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution. Tax fraud is a general term which can trigger many different laws found in Title 26 (the Internal Revenue Code) and Title 18 of the United States Code (or “USC”). The core distinguishing feature of tax fraud is a taxpayer’s intent to defraud the government by not paying taxes that he knows are lawfully due. Tax fraud can be punishable by both civil (i.e. money) and criminal (i.e. jail time and money) penalties, with the civil violations primarily in Title 26 and the criminal violations principally in Title 18, respectively, of the USC. For example, a taxpayer can commit tax fraud and be punished with civil penalties under 26 USC § 6663, without being charged with criminal tax evasion. (a) Imposition of penalty; If any part of any underpayment of tax required to be shown on a return is due to fraud, there shall be added to the tax an amount equal to 75 percent of the portion of the underpayment which is attributable to fraud. Tax evasion becomes law on October 1, 2016 when the Actuary will be presumed to have evaded the Free DIRT Act 2.3% DI rate and 10.1% OASI rate because he pleads to be as immune to FDR’s pain the OASDI tax rate reallocation as Congress or the Harvard stool pigeon making me panic and consider filing for medical leave from
    Social Security Matter before October 1.

    The hail made Harvard’s intimate association with the hydrocarbon heating and now cooling pumps all-right. Its too bad Nancy Altman is unable to squash her egotistical plan she published in her disability discriminating optimistic book in in her completely independent lobbying of our legislature. I hope her conflict of interest conviction for publicly and officially acting the fool in regards to Social Security is not as disastrous as the Harvard lawyer who lost both his jobs for city council and the law college incidental to playing the fool on the television News in regards to the capture of a hydrocarbon heating pump by the BRAC Commission and me – the regulator. He might actually be a Harvard graduate on disability insurance whose book on social security we might want to legislate because it is right due to his long tenure with SSA. You see not only am I actually paid the number of the beast by disability insurance from age 30 or so but I hold the true federal budget and may need to recalculate the DI rate from 2.3% to maybe 2.4% if the Actuary actually falls through the thin ice and cuts DI benefits because his negligence has resulted in the depletion of the DI trust fund. For their part, SSA and even Social Security Matters do not explain what “law” prevents them from defending their bosses from tax evasion charges .26 USC § 6663 and the true SSA Actuary and Annual Report become held by HA like the HA impersonating federal budget itself. This is not any reason for the United States to plead any corrupt advantage against the Chinese economy because there is no denying the United States credit history is far better than the accountants they pay ten or twenty-five times more than the HA accountant their entire high level federal career discriminated against at a OMB quantified civil defense of social allowance in excess of 100 billion times zero dollars a year. More than enough accounting fraud for the rich to avoid paying taxes to such a tax fraud. Provided I am not speaking like a fool right now I’ll be paying taxes on dividends next year. Maybe I’ll be able to access my Social Security account online then, but I don’t think it’s enough income.

    RE: Health and Welfare. 9th Ed. Hospitals & Asylums. HA-26-7-15 http://www.title24uscode.org/haw.htm

  4. Ruth A.

    How about stopping the 20-35 yr olds that are claimi g disability??? It’s rediculius. I suffer from many severe chronic health conditions. At the time i filed for disabiluty with ann atty representing me, it took several times of going to social security doctors which never ever did all the testing of my health that had accumulated through the yrs. Finally after 2 appeals it went to tge ss jydge which i was thankful for. Then i had to contact my congressman to light a match under the judge’s rear end. Finally after 2 1/2 yrs i was approved at 100% disabled. Nowadays you have to prove noy
    Thing to ss to get approved. And they talk abbout ss going broke. Give me a break!!!

  5. poorman

    I get $1488 a month from SS and it’s not much, but I also get money from a private pension, so that adds up the total to close to $3,000 a month. I am happy, but I have to keep a tight budget or not have enough since I refuse to use any of my savings right now. I manage to put away $500 a month into my savings, so that is money is for a rainy day only.

  6. Ck

    It’s sad to know that we all question
    Our government about our security in getting a social security check every month. Our country owes so much money.
    I understand our dollar is week. We can not pay our notes on money we have borrowers from other countries.
    Now we the Seniors live in & on Our hard earned Social Security that we have paid in every paycheck all our life . Fear does hit many in the area of , ” what will happen if the Govt we let borrow from our social security fund does not pay it back?
    Who answers to who?
    This blog says we are the rich.
    This blog says we need to increase benifits with our social security fund.
    I say NO.
    Let’s be secure and stable in this fund. Let’s stop spending money and borrowing money to give away.
    Let’s take care of our own people me just for five years. Let’s vote for a strong leader to STOP borrowing and start paying back what is due in our social security fund. The govt thinks we are old have have No voice.
    We need to get on our knees and pray about this people.
    Let’s get God back in our country and he will bless it and help us.

  7. Lic. P.

    Hi, everybody:
    In really the work inside the Social Security Administration, Field Offices, it’s more important for the people more vulnerable in our society. They need
    your more carefully attention a their problem and necessity day over day. Our society in full know your effort to improve your service for all people in general.

  8. Tome W.

    It’s very much a matter of affordability. Social security’s funding shortfall is real, but it’s not a crisis, and it is fixable if both sides are willing to compromise. The disability portion has a serious problem. It’s quadrupled in 10 years, largely driven by liberals who have used it to reverse much of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform–welfare by another name. Social security’s funding problems are tiny compared to the giant problems faced by Medicare and Medicaid. They are the 800 pound gorillas that threaten to consume the federal budget and drive down all other social spending.

  9. Jannet G.

    I Pray Thing’s , Will , Return . Too Normal? I pay My Dues, I worked, My , Whole Life, This , Was Done . too Me ; She it was ; Elective, Surgery? I Did , Not , Elect, Too , Be , Treat , Like , Guinion, Pig !!! i’n Jesus Name : I Pray Thank- You Jannet V Guillen

  10. Gerard

    Norma most people receiving social would like to have earned $2400 as a paycheck, I never earned it and Ive have been on it for 16 yrs. No one gets full pay from social that I know of.

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