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. Ricky L.

    At what age does S.S.stop taking money out of your paycheck.Thanks in advance. RICKY

    • Jeff


      If you still work in a job that is covered under Social Security, at ANY age you will still pay into SSA.

      Your benefits are based on your best 35 years. If you are working at say 94 years old, you will still pay into SSA.

      If that year of work figures into your best 35 years, Social Security will automatically adjust your benefit to the higher amount in March or October of the next year following the year in which you worked. This is called the AERO.

      If your prior year of earnings does not figure into your best 35 years, then your payment stays the same. The AERO can never make your payment go down, only up.

      So if you are working there is NEVER an age in which S.S. would stop taking FICA tax out of your check.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Ricky. Everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes.

      • Debbie

        I’m at full retirement and getting my benefits but still working. I’m also on Medicare. Why is my employer still taking out medicare and SS taxes from my paycheck? Is that legal?

        • Ann C.

          Hi, Debbie. Thanks for your question! The Federal Insurance and Self-Employment Contribution Acts (FICA and SECA) require the withholding of taxes from wages of employed people, and the net earnings of most self-employed people, for the Social Security and Medicare programs.To learn more about FICA and SECA, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  2. James B.

    And to ICE, YES, I voted for TRUMP because he never killed anyone or had anyone serve prison time for what they did and you know who I’m talking about. These slimballs should be in prison becoming gay with cellmates.

    • Ice

      Wow. Where are you getting your info?

      • James B.

        Remember James and Susan McDougal in Arkansas and Vince Foster in DC. McDougal went to prison for ripping off a savings and loan with Bill and Hillary and Vince was knocked off for screwing Hillary.

  3. James B.

    First of all, I think people with disabilities and those who have never paid into SS should be getting help from states Medicaid programs instead of a program they never contributed to even through no fault of their own. There needs to be a separate fund for these citizens and not for immigrants who aren’t supposed to here in the first place. No wonder, they all want to come here. And what really pisses me off is the feds will give refuges a low interest loan to start a business and forget about the American citizen and it takes away from American citizens getting jobs because they hire their own people to work whether they are supposed to be here or not. I was one of these people.

    • RC

      Not happy here either, and I agree, it should be a different fund that it is paid from, if they never paid in.
      I have paid in to SS since I was about 12, helping a neighbor measure lawns and delivering statements, and a Sun paper route. I am now 52. A Dr messed up with a pacemaker, and I had such heart failure for a few years that I slept 20 hours a day! I qualified to get a SS payment, based on what I had earned until I had the surgery (nobody would admit wrong doing, of course, and because docs stick together, nobody would file a suit either.)
      But, my point is that not everyone who gets disability hasn’t paid in. I would guess most of us have. I understand that if you are below a certain rate, and of the poorest, there is an additional amount sent (SSI?) I’m not exactly sure where that one comes from.

    • Charla

      finalmente qualcuno fuori da coro come me! forse io sono meno estremo di te matteo…ho pensato “che peccato, c’erano tutte le premesse per un ottimo film e non ce l’ha fatta”. ma confido in Gaailanone.Qugndo eliminera’ queste leziosita’ da esordiente, imparera’ a dirigere gli attori(adulti) e usera’ attori che non recitino preoccupati solo di far vedere quanto sono bravi, sara’ fatta!

  4. david K.

    ” 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”
    Really? 25% of the 20 year olds will become disabled before retirement? Do men or women still lose their limbs while building railroads or when their working in a cotton mill? They should have a separate fund for disability. This money shouldn’t be drawn from the general fund. Me thinks they also need to tighten the requirements for disability.

    • Ray F.

      Hi David. The Social Security Trust Funds are the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Please visit our Social Security Trust Fund Data for more information.

  5. Richard I.

    Pres. Johnson (a Dem) took all the excess money that had been built up in SS and put into the general fund and then spent it to make his admin look good. VP Al Gore cast the deciding vote to tax our SS. (a Dem). Now we are at the point where SS is going broke. Why didn’t Pres. Obama (a Dem) fix the program while he was in office? We all know it needs fixing. Now money is coming out of the Fed Gov. to pay for the short falls. So we are actually paying for our own SS check twice. We paid into it, our employer paid into on our behalf and we are paying into it again. Guess that’s three times. Ah yes, our wonderful government at work.

    • Ice

      Read some data. I bet you voted for Trump!

      • Bill B.

        President Trump has nothing to do with what we get from SS because you get what you put in. If you didn’t put in too much than you get less than your neighbor that put in too much.

  6. James B.

    I retired from GE when I was 59 1/2 years young and lived on my own funds and drew SS early when I became 62 so I could receive it for a few years before a good share of it was gone to people who never paid into the program and it went default. It is not an entitlement as I paid into it since 11 years of age delivering newspapers. Also, in our small town of Wapello, Iowa, there are plenty of people who draw SS disability since high school and are still doing so but still work for cash under the table all these decades. How’s that for having your cake and eating it too? If I had the funds I and my employer paid in, I could live my remaining years so much better. Just another program the LAZY moochers are milking and no one does anything about or don’t care to because it’s not politically correct. Most of us retirement people will die before we receive all the funds us and our employers paid in. What a sham.

    • Jeff


      MOST will receive MORE than what they and their employer(s) paid into the system.

      That is a FACT! Not baseless nonsense and ramblings……

  7. Boketsu B.

    Your applicant full name Boketsu date of naissance 09/04/1976 with my spouse name Mengi mulandu esperance date of naissance 04/03/1980 ask partners to delivery adequate funds to pay educational and cover my needs such;tuition,room,travel and others expenses.
    MR Boketsu Banganganda Bonald

  8. evonne

    I have been paying into SS since I was 14 years old and now I am 52. I have multiple disabilities and unable to work. I hired a lawyer (one of my doctors recommended so, I would not add additional stress on my body) and it has been 2 years and I am still not receiving my money. I have used all savings and all mine and my spouses 401k. My lawyer said he has seen clients go homeless before they hear on their SS benefit. I cannot believe we have a government that will allow this to happen. I have a 4 year degree and made good salaries and my lawyer said they hold people like me back also because they do not want to pay that much to me each month. We have a problem with the system. Please let me know has this can be resolved before I lose my home!!!!

    • RC

      I did lose my home. About to a second time while they continue to harass me.

    • Kstaff

      I looked up my illness. Medical disabilities such as loss of cognitive abilities, balance issues…extra. I review that giant questionnaire and detailed all my medical issues. I worked with my doctors regarding all medical issues that are leading to my disabilities and request he provide and address all issues I had znd report this for my SDI application. I was lucky for doing my homework and application was sent for ssa medical exam and review, and approved 1 1/2 month after I applied. I was also 52. I worked in a job the provided me with SDI/ssa law and info of what hang ups that can be caused. Most of all is your application and or doctors reports provide was not a full and complete picture supporting you disability, causing the denial, along with the fact that most application from those of us in are 50’s seem to be dennied…. even those with verified terminal illnesses. Try to obtain the most complete medical documentation you can, review your application questionnaire you completed, re address anything you may have provide short incomplete answers, many question will seem to ask for the same info, yep. Answer it fully each time! Don’t just put see question #xx. Make sure you answers are supported by your doctors report have your attny review it and petiontion for hearing

  9. Norma C.

    I don’t want to donate my money at this time because I don’t earn enough, I worked 13 years so I need my money that gets taken out!!!
    The millionaires can help !! They spend money on things not needed— I buy basics. Food-pay bills. Medicines. Mtge. gasoline for my 2004 Nissan, etc ,, all I need is what l had monthly – $3000. A month,,,! Even that didn’t leave me much.

    • Kstaff

      Single parent… I worked more than 13 yrs, struggled…got my child to college and even sent her 1/2 my income to cover her living exspences doing with out and living below my means, and I’m diabetic, so times I could not buy insulin and reduced my dose age so I had enough to make it through the mo. I’m disabled now, not from my diabetes or anything related, I thank god now that I paid in as my dis retirement and SDI pays me a little less then my bring home pay was, so at least I can still make it from month to month. Get over it you will benefit later bye set up retirement plan if you don’t have one from employment. You’ll need it. Invest in yourself now will pay you later!!!

  10. Free T.

    This web cite tries to paint a nice face on a criminal institution. It does not work. We The People can see right through all the BS.

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