Your Contributions Make Our Nation Stronger

March 27, 2017 • By

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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. Ron

    I have a friend that is incarcerated his spouse passed away is he entitled to the $255 death benefit!

    • Luis A.

      Hi Ron. Social Security Law prohibits payments to most prisoners. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the law states that a person cannot live in a public institution (for example, a jail, prison, penal facility, etc.) for a full calendar month or more, and receive SSI benefits. For Social Security benefits, the law states that if a person commits a crime and a court convicts them, and they serve more than 30 continuous days in jail following the conviction, they cannot get benefits while incarcerated. If someone received benefits that they should not have, they are responsible for paying back any money that they should not have received. If you are aware of any prisoners who are illegally receiving benefits, please report it to our Office of the Inspector General (OIG). We take reports of fraud very seriously. We hope this helps.

  2. Linda W.

    All I want is a w4v is there no link ?

    • Luis A.

      Thank you for your question, Linda. You can find the form W-4V here, as well as more information on completing this process. We hope this helps.

  3. Nagarajan M.

    How do I transfer my social security credits from Australia to my US social security. I need to know the process. Currently I am a US citizen employed by a US company

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Nagarajan. Since you are living outside of the U.S. you can contact your local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  4. Brent M.

    Hi my name is Brent Marshall I live in the Bronx NY I get SSD and being that I can’t send my pay stubs online to social security I have to go in the office every month when I go in the office I get there when they open at 8:30am ET time and for me to come in be the first one there and have to wait all day for 5 or more hours there just to put in my pay stubs is very bad and then some of the employees are not nice can someone email me back I am disabled to be sitting there all that time I would like the deputy commissioner Mr. Jim Borland to email me back if he can I’m at the center in the Bronx on Fordham Rd thank you.

  5. Alvin Y.

    Can a non US citizen who has paid into their social security still avail of their retirement benefits?

  6. Mary C.

    My husband and I are both retired and are needing to have taxes taken out of our social security. What form do we fill out and where do we find it?

    • Mary C.

      Okay never mind I seen someone else’s question and it was the same as mine. I have the answer. Thank you

  7. Rosetta L.

    im getting taxes taken out from fica- oasdi and fica-hi and no federal taxes

  8. NRod

    My sister is a teacher in Puerto Rico. She says the public school teachers don’t get money deducted from their paychecks for FICA or SS. Can she pay/contribute on her own for her future benefits?

  9. James B.

    How do I have taxes withheld

  10. Susanne W.

    Checking on back paycheck

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Susanne. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

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