Social Security is more than just a retirement program. It provides important life insurance and disability insurance protection as well. Social Security provides a guaranteed, progressive benefit that keeps up with increases in the cost of living and also provides a foundation of retirement protection for nearly every American.
Social Security benefits are based on the earning on which you pay Social Security payroll taxes. The higher your earnings (up to a maximum taxable), the higher your benefit will be.
Listed below, are some of the benefits you will receive from Social Security.
By the time you come to the end of a long working career, the amount of Social Security income you will be entitled to is pretty well known. The benefit is based on your earnings history as it is applied to a formula. While the amount may vary depending on when you apply for benefits, the relative accuracy of the estimate makes it easy to build the rest of your retirement around it.
Once you have qualified for Social Security benefits, the amount of income you'll receive is set. Some people worry that benefits may be cut in the future, but it is highly unlikely that the benefits paid to current retirees will be significantly affected by proposals to reform the Social Security system. And Social Security is one of the few sources of income that can be assured of never running out.
Social Security benefits are usually increased each year based on the previous year's increase in the Consumer Price Index. These cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) help retirees keep up with the rising cost of living.
Although Social Security checks stop at death, benefits are paid to surviving spouses and dependents. There are specialized strategies to maximizing these benefits.