Your Contributions Make Our Nation Stronger

March 27, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 27, 2017

man & woman reading on the couchAt first, seeing taxes taken out of your paycheck can be a little disappointing. However, you can take pride in knowing you’re making an important impact each week when you contribute to Social Security. Understanding how important your contribution is takes some of the sting away because your taxes are helping millions of Americans — and protecting you and your family for life — as well as wounded warriors, the chronically ill, and disabled.

By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from a worker’s paycheck. While usually referred to as “Social Security taxes” on an employee’s pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as “FICA” which stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a reference to the original Social Security Act. In some cases, you will see “OASDI” which stands for Old Age Survivors Disability Insurance.

The taxes you pay now translate to a lifetime of protection — for retirement in old age or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work as well.

Because you may be a long way from retirement, you might have a tough time seeing the value of benefit payments that could be many decades in the future. But keep in mind that the Social Security taxes you’re paying can provide valuable disability or survivors benefits now in the event the unexpected happens. Studies show that of today’s 20-year-olds, about one in four will become disabled, and about one in eight will die, before reaching retirement.

Be warned: if an employer offers to pay you “under the table,” you should refuse. It’s against the law. They may try to sell it as a benefit to you since you get a few extra dollars in your pay. But you’re really only allowing the employer to cheat you out of your Social Security credits.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Social Security and exactly what you’re building up for yourself by paying Social Security taxes, take a look at our online booklet, How You Earn Credits, at

If you have a friend who lost a parent when they were a child, they probably got Social Security survivors benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. And Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. You can learn more at

Do you prefer videos to reading? Check out webinar, “Social Security 101: What’s in it for me?” The webinar explains what you need to know about Social Security. You can find it at as well as on YouTube at

You can also learn more at


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Free T.

    In a decent and peaceful democracy our neighbors would not ask the government to do anything that would be wrong if they did the same thing to their neighbors. Now, imagine if I stole money from my neighbor to cover my medical bills. I would go to jail. The people who lobbied for SS are violent criminals, and so are those who passed it, signed it into law. As well as those who refuse to repeal it.

  2. David M.

    How can refugees collect anything from Social Security, when we are told you have to pay inat least 40 quarters before you qualify to collect anything??? the politicians need to live by the same rules they require us to live by and things would be much MUCH different.

    • Patricia B.

      Refugees get over 5,000 when they land! Senior’s lost their ,03% COLA stipend raise in 2017, having gone 3 years without a raise; medicare part B premium ate it up! Seniors are having to work to make ends meet, pay for drugs, etc. Employers still take out Social Security from every paycheck, and no longer refund it while they are “choosing” to work past 65/66. Why, you can guess why and where it is going… entitlements for non-paying SS participants got it all I would love to get my hands on SS’s budget and just where the money is going! I worked since age 16, and my SS check is earned, not an entitlement to me! Life isn’t fair!

      • mathew p.

        I agree if you do not work and pay in you do not draw a dime get a job pay in like the rest you dead beats

        • mathew p.

          we need somebody in the office to pay in there fair share instead of taking our paid in money we could live good if we did not pay the people we to pay to take the money we worked all our lives to dead beats

        • RC


        • Dany

          We have no energy policy and haven’t had for den.sedaThack you Ronald Reagan, George H W Bush, Richard Cheney, Phil Gramm, Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, George W Bush, ET Al who helped the Texas oil cabal who worked very hard blocking any real energy policy to maximize their profits over the national good.

    • Jill

      Something to realize is that politicians and government who/that are/is being called out are citizens: relatives,
      neighbors, friends. Nope, they are not from outer space. I often question their decisions, but still ask myself if I could do better deciding what is best for everyone else and my Country. For sure, their logic is often not mine.

    • Kstaff

      So you hzve to work for 20 years…. that is what 40 quarters is. All politicians and Americans work far more then 20 yrs. we start working st 15 or 16 and don’t usually retire until we are in our sixties. 60-16=44x 4 quarters per yr= 176 quarters in a life time. Does that assist with your concerns??? You should be thankful you can get benefit with only 10 yrs of working and paying in to be eligible to obtain benefits…I think you owe those of use that paid in for our 44 yrs of working and paying into ssa system!!!

  3. Joy D.

    My 25 year career was outsourced to INDIA and I lost my home, custody of my son’s, ….. I was determined disabled, when I received my first check I was told it was reduced “due to Obama’s cut for refuges” – I started working at 16 and I didn’t do it for them.
    I have to pay child support out of my disability, it makes me feel I was robbed for those refugees.

    • RC

      I have a similar story. I also feel robbed! 6 years of harassment and having become homeless, at one point, because they suddenly decided I had to pay back $12,000. I lost my job at a large corporation that looked at tax returns. First, you wouldn’t believe the corporate write-offs and how they can get to a zero taxable income. Next, though, there was a woman in her late 50s, disabled, kids still at home and husband had passed away that year. Suddenly, she was also asked to “pay back” several thousand, tell me how that is going to happen, They really don’t care though.
      When visiting the local office recently, I saw a big screen where it bragged about having collected so many billions in SS.
      Mine, when being figured, does not come out to 12, 000, as they billed me. I worked more than the “allowed time” for a couple of months in an office that was just getting started with foster care. No matter, I worked really hard, and went over for a little bit. Low and behold, they now had a liscence to “take back” thousands! This was after Obama was elected into office also.

    • Kstaff

      I was a child support officer, there are benefits available for dependent children through SDI benefits, the court can not withhold from your SDI, seek a modification of your support order, try advising the court your perminatly dusabled and SDI is your income source, visit tour ssa office and ask them about depedsnt benefits, if they are eligible, obtain verification of what the benefit they will receive, request ca to be set at amount of the benefit being pd for the defendant. Arranged will still be your responsibility but many states have forgiveness program if the ca is owed to reigns cash aid (welfare) for the children… info can be found on your state child support website. Google child support law for your state for disabled pared this to see what znd how your disability is effected or seek legal assistance.

  4. Peter W.

    I had served 1957 – 1960 I had not asked for any service before until last year and then was told that I could not receive and ways for extra connection. This true or has all general person now some how received a way to change life??

  5. Nancy L.

    I look at what I have paid in over my lifetime over 148K and my employer matched it 296K if I had that amount and the interest over a lifetime even with market fluctuations I would have an amazing retirement. When I hear politicians say they need to decrease “entitlements”. What does that even mean? The money the government withheld without my agreement and is supposedly holding for my retirement.

    • RC

      Irritating, at very least!

    • Jeff

      You didn’t pay in $148k in your lifetime, quit making stuff up.

  6. Sue G.

    Why do some people feel it necessary to use vulgar language when commenting on another person’s post? It just shows the ignorance and lack of respect of some people, and if they think it’s “cute” or appropriate, they are sadly mistaken.

    • Mary


    • Berta

      I agree Sue Green!!

    • Jill

      I agree also.

      • Ice


        • Marge

          I like Colossus better the way I knew him as I grew up – the sevtesini, nice guy whose rage usually strikes only when a loved one is in danger. He was still badass that way! Besides, everyone wants Cain Marko back as the Juggernaut

        • William

          I concur!

  7. Billy B.

    People who work with ITIN numbers do not pay towards Social Security, unfortunately. Consult with a tax preparer about your options of paying Social Security Taxes.

    • scott

      This is pure propaganda, and not true.

  8. Judy G.

    I think it is downright awful, that i have to pay additional amounts from my S.S. retirement monthly stipend and on top of that, Social Security charges me more because of my income.
    I paid into the system for decades and feel that I am getting ripped off.
    I feel that i should not have to pay anymore than what i did when i was working. that is the way the system was supposed to work. I should not be charged AFTER i retired. I retired in 2010

    • dab2453

      Hi Judy, I am trying to find out what form my husband needs to fill out to pay the taxes monthly from his son sec check. He just started getting it last October. Do you know? Thanks!

      • Jeff


        Google the form, print it, fill it out and mail into your local SSA office.

  9. Dave

    You’re as fucked up as the next deocrat!

    • Ice

      And your spelling, Dave, is that of Jethro.

  10. FELIPE J.


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