General, Online Services, Retirement

Private Retirement Benefits and Social Security Working Together

March 31, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-stricken old age.

Nearly 81 years later, Social Security provides the foundation for retiring Americans that President Roosevelt imagined when he signed the program into law. The latest figures report that nearly 59 million Americans were receiving retirement, disability or survivors’ benefits from Social Security. Each year, nearly 15 million elderly Americans are lifted out of poverty by Social Security, proving that the program is indeed a crucial part of a secure retirement.

While Social Security provides a strong foundation for workers, the private retirement system also plays a key role in ensuring the economic well-being of retired Americans. Over 115 million workers receive retirement benefits through plans provided by their employers. In addition, the number of retirees receiving income from private retirement plans continues to increase.

On February 5, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held a retirement forum focused on the success of employer-provided retirement systems. Panelists and speakers offered guidelines to help support the voluntary employment-based retirement benefits system and identified ways to encourage innovation and flexibility in the private retirement system. In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also released a white paper at the event entitled, “Private Retirement Benefits in the 21st Century: Achieving Retirement Security,” which recommends a series of steps to further bolster the private retirement system.

The true success story, however, is the combination of Social Security and employer-provided retirement benefits.‎ Working hand in hand, the private retirement system and Social Security can ensure that millions of Americans keep receiving the stable and secure income that they deserve.

To educate companies on the benefits of this partnership, the Chamber and the Social Security Administration are co-sponsoring‎ a conference, entitled “Promoting Retirement Security Makes Good Business Sense” on April 5, 2016 at 8:45 ET. The discussion will center on promoting the partnership between the Social Security and the business community to support a secure retirement for workers. We will also discuss how the current Social Security retirement program can supplement employer-provided retirement savings. I encourage you to tune in to the live webcast at US Chamber Live Webcast.

Have a question you would like to see answered on the day of the event? Post your question to @SSAOutreach using the hashtag #RETSCC and watch the live webcast to see if your question was chosen on the day of the event.

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About the Author

Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, & Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Randy Johnson, Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, & Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


  1. Minh D.

    1. I worked as contract employee for county and had contribute portion of my pay check to my Defined Benefit Plan for my retirement. When I retire and start to withdraw the money from my benefit plan, does it affect my social security benefit?
    2. I realize that the more money you save for retirement the lesser you will get help from government. Does government be able to find a system to compensate the group of people who try to work hard their whole life to have a fair and decent life style at their golden age at retirement.

    • Jenna Y.

      Hi Minh, Social Security retirement benefits are increased by a certain percentage if you delay your retirement beyond full retirement age. You earn delayed retirement credits automatically when and if you delay getting your benefit up until age 70. Delayed retirement credits increase your monthly benefit.

      For specific questions about your situation, please contact your local office or you can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

      • Susan

        The government is really pushing this option to wait until you’re 70 and you’ll get more money. Everyone knows that the Feds are working furiously to develop ideas to reduce payments based on need. You’re a fool if you wait until 70 to get benefits. Social Security isn’t going to have MORE money if I wait 5 years….it’s just a scheme to put off paying people what is owed to them.

  2. Fed U.

    I am very concerned that the Social Security benefits are now classified as Federal Benefits Payments.

    Doesn’t it bother anyone that the contributions were made by the individual and their employer, and now it is coming from the Federal Benefits Payments.

    What is going to happen when the Federal Govt decides that they do not want to pay the Federal Benefits any longer?

    As for employers have a retirement account for their employees, those are far and few in between. Companies rarely offer that any more. We should be able to opt out of Social Security and take care of our selves and stop entrusting crooks with our money!!

    Concerned Citizen who has worked non stop all my life, good luck to me if I ever see a penny!!

  3. JENNIE D.

    What are seniors to do no increase in our social security in 2 years what are we to do come on think about all the baby boomers out there this country sucks

    • Marc

      That’s incorrect. Social Security recipients received a cost of living increase last year of 1.7%, they also received one the year before. No increase in 2010 or 3011 but every year after that until 2016. If you’re going to complain, at least make sure what you’re complaining about is true.

      • David i.

        Why don’t you just note a correction to a statement and not be so condescending, you must be a government worker and used to shutting people down.

  4. Paul B.

    We pay Social Security taxes all our working lives we do not get one penny interest. We paid income taxes on that money and the Government has the ghoul to tax us again on 85% if we earn over a amount that the Government thinks is to much. I am 73 years old and have to take money out of my retirement each year to pay the taxes I owed I need the money to live not for taxes.

    • Phil

      You didn’t pay taxes on the Social Security (FICA) since it was taken out of your check. So it never got taxed.

      • Susan

        Not sure what you mean….Federal and state and local income taxes are figured on the total income, not on the amount after Social Security and Medicare has been taken out. Ex. I make $500 salary. SS and Medicare would be 7.65% of $500 or $38.25. Fed and state taxes are computed on $500, not $500-$38.25.

        • Buddy

          Wow! Great to find a post knkicong my socks off!

  5. Cynthia S.

    As a public school retiree, the Windfall Offset is robbery. Not to mention Congress’ robbery of money from SSA that is NOT Congress’ to use!

    I worked in a district that paid into Sicial Security for 28 years of my 30 year career. Other jobs outside of teaching also went toward my quarters. I have a progressively disabling disease, but am not sure fighting for SSA disability is remotely worth it. I’m trying to find work I can do from home because of the care level and acommodations needed for my disease. Not making enough to make ends meet. I do have a 403(b) I contributed to, but am needing to leave that alone as much as possible.

    I am so frustrated.

    • Cynthia S.

      Sorry for the typo…fat fingers and careless proofreading!

  6. Dorothy E.

    Has the Social Security Fairness Act been passed yet?
    I get my teacher’s pension but non of the 55 yrs.
    my husband paid into Social Security system?
    I still have a mortgage, taxes, etc. to pay.

    • Jenna Y.

      Hi Dorothy, you may be referring to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. This Act recently made some changes to Social Security’s laws about claiming retirement and spousal benefits. Section 831 of the law (entitled “Closure of Unintended Loopholes”) made several changes to the Social Security Act and closed two complex loopholes that were used primarily by married couples. Our Retirement Planner: Recent Social Security Claiming Changes explains what is changing and how it might affect you.

      Also, if you receive a monthly pension from work where Social Security taxes were not taken out of your pay, or if you previously received it in a lump sum payment, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) can affect how we calculate your benefit amount, resulting in a lower Social Security benefit than you otherwise would receive. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you still have questions about how the payment you received may or may not affect your Social Security benefits, we ask that members in our Facebook community contact our offices with questions about their specific case. You can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this information is helpful.

    • Willie

      Stands back from the keyboard in amnemzeat! Thanks!

  7. Eileen O.

    My daughter has recently been diagnosed with early dementia. not quite aged 60. shes needing to find a way through the web of requirements for disability. shes married but all they have done, home etc was based on 2 workers. now just her husband,. already had to give up her car,. cant drive alone, is there something she can do to get help?

    • Linda

      She needs an advocate. First try her healthcare provider. Sometimes they have case managers or advocates who can help navigate through resources. You can also call 211 or go on-line. In case you do not know 211, is who you call for services. In Texas you would go to There are variations depending on the state. You can contact the Alzheimer’s Association as they can assist people with any type of dementia. There are resources, you just have to keep asking.

    • Jenna Y.

      Eileen, we are very sorry to hear about your daughters medical condition. You may be getting our disability programs confused. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities, who meet the financial limits. Visit here for more information on the eligibility requirements for SSI.
      Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, on the other hand, are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. Social Security pays disability benefits to people if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. You may also find our listing of impairments useful.

      Your daughter may also be eligible to receive social services from the state in which she lives. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. She can get information about services in her area from your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

  8. Dennis W.

    It is possible to receive a summary (Bottom Line or Up-shot) of the “US Chamber Live Webcast” discussion?
    I am working full time and do not have 3 Hours 15 min. of uninterrupted time to listen to this valuable webcast!

  9. cynthia o.

    Because I receive a small teacher’s pension, my Social Security was cut in half, i lost $400 a month of the $800 I was due. this is because of the horrific WEP. no one cares. been writing letters for years, no one cares.

    • John O.

      The benefit formula has always been skewed in favor of a low income worker. That is, SS retirement pays a higher % of a low income worker’s pre retirement wages. Having worked for the State teachers and having not paid in much into Social Security it appears that you are a low income worker who has very little to fall back on. In reality you have your State Teacher’s Pension. To prevent double dipping your benefits are subject to being offset. And sure no one cares because that’s the way the law is written. Writing letters for years shows you do not have a grip on the big picture.

      • Robie R.

        I TOO AM IN THE SAME BOAT!! I don’t know how to put up my own post, but I understand what you are saying. Are these blogs for private rants or does someone who really cares gives a hoot or responds in some way? I have worked over 45 years; only the last 15 as a teacher. My retirement too got cut in half, so that I don’t even get 300 per month. The WEP/GPO is really not fair!

      • Dewey

        A person works for County Teachers for a few years – the extremely low pay years with bare subsistence level of pay and retirement – by paying in extra for partial years was able to qualiffy for the minimum years for the minimum amount retirement level – about $400 monthly.
        The person leaves County Teachers employment to work in a low paying Private Business in order to be able to provide care for a close relative, eventually qualifying for minimal SS Retirement Benefits – less than $500 monthly.
        Having minimum retirement annuities from 2 low-paying careers – about $900 monthly – is restrictive enough; however due to application of the “law” you noted, each year when the Teacher Minimal Retirement is increased $4-6 monthly, the Minimal SS Retirement is reduced accordingly!
        This is NOT Double-Dipping as the separate entity retirement systems did NOT overlap – both were earned according to the written laws.
        Penalizing a person who has remained in the active workforce for 40 years by limiting their retirement to about $900 monthly is obscene!
        JOHN – therein lies the “Big Picture” representative of the REAL WORLD!

      • Chris

        John OMalia I certainly hope you are not one any contracted workers here who respond on behalf of Social Security because I find many of your responses quite rude.

        • Ray F.

          Hi Chris, for your information, Social Security has an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. Please be aware that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal. Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

        • Judy T.

          Hurray for you! I have even contacted Diane Feinstein about this unfair practice. I EARNED my Social Security working outside the teacher’s system in California and yet they still take what I am entitled to away! I get furious EVERY month! What can we do? I could use the extra $300 a month! It is NOT double dipping. Calpers employees draw full social security and full pension benefits. Retired teachers in California are getting screwed!

      • David i.

        Define “double dipping” when the retire has paid into both systems.

    • M. E.

      Don’t know your situation but I get a pension(not from the State) and it has NO effect on my Social Security. You need to check with someone who knows the legal aspects of Social Security. Social security is based on your income and number of years working, not on other income.

      • John

        I first received $440/month from Social Security when I reached the age of 65 yrs and 10 months based upon my contributions to SS for all the jobs I had as a young man (Hughes Aircraft, Sears Roebuck, Bank of America, and several other small companies) as well as during my US military service (active duty for 2 yrs, plus nearly 36 yrs US Army Reserve). I thought this was to be a permanent amount from that day forward. But, when I retired from US Civil Service 8 months later with a retirement annuity, my SS retirement was cut in half ($220). During my US Civil Service of 41 yrs total, SS was not deducted from my pay. Still, I do not understand why my SS was cut in half after they provided me with the original $440/month annuity. The US Govt giveth and Taketh AWAY. That happened in 2008.

      • John S.

        If your non-SS Retirement is from income from which no SS contribution was made, there is an offset applied to your SS retirement that reduces or eliminates your SS retirement, which is established based on your salary subject to SS deductions and the number of quarters in which you paid the SS tax. You ought to seek the advice of a lawyer that specializes in SS.

      • I. S.

        Thank you M. E. Scott. You have indeed enlighten me on some of my concerns. Thank you.

    • M. E.

      How is a pension from the State and Social Security from the Feds double dipping?? The money comes from 2 separate places. If she was supposed to get 800 in Soc Sec, why only 400?? Explain please.

      • Margery

        Ah, i see. Well th’tas not too tricky at all!”

    • Michael C.

      Someone cares, I just can’t help you with this. AS I can’t help myself with this. How ever we can keep letting people know how bad this program is. Maybe then with enough support we can fix the problems. My name is Michael Chow you can find me on Facebook. I am also one “crying in the wilderness”

    • Don H.

      Ny immediate thought was this is a thinly veiled effort to reduce the total benefits of retirees who paid the most to social security. I see a formula whereby social security would pay substantially less and other organizations would be eager to join in to pay less to millions of the most deserving. All this would be detrimental to the many individuals who worked the hardest.. Looks like pure socialism at its best.

      • Dede

        There was a law passed back in 2008 (I think), that all Federal and State employees could not draw SS if they were offered AND participated in an employee-funded Retirement Plan. All school teachers, firemen and policemen fell under this law. My husband had served 28 years on our local PD when the news was delivered. We was planning on a nice retirement of his pension and SS. A lot of the Policemen did 20 years in the Armed Forces and 20 years as a Policeman expecting 2 very good retirements. Didn’t happen! If the Government is going to pass a law like that, it should only affect the new employees coming in to that field and not affect those that have been there for 20-35 years!

        • A. J.

          No… The offset was offered up by and instituted by the Regan administration. Thank you President Regan!

          • prof e.

            No the law was not by Reagan, it was by Bush in 2007, not the 1980s. The only thing that Reagan did was graduate the retirement age based on birth date and instituted a tax on higher incomes to aid in keeping the fund solvent

      • Eldora

        This is a neat suarymm. Thanks for sharing!

      • Birdie

        I love these arltsiec. How many words can a wordsmith smith?

    • Marilyn

      At least you have a pension, unlike 82% of the people working in private industry.

    • Samson O.

      Does it mean that if someone born in 1950, retired at 62 based on organisation’s policy, would have his/her social security benefit cut by half when prepared to file for as at 65. If that is the policy, it then teaches some people to be lazy, and instead, reply completely on the government. Something needs to be done to correct the anomaly.

  10. Collyn

    Too bad Wall Street has eaten our 401Ks.

Comments are closed.