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Your Social Security tax supports millions

Patty Hoffman is the Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and Western Minnesota.1 / 2
The taxes you pay now mean a lifetime of protection — for a comfortable retirement in your senior years or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivor’s benefits based on your work as well. (Graphic provided courtesy of the Social Security Administration) 2 / 2

You are making America stronger through Social Security. Chances are, people you know and love benefit in some way from this social safety net. Retirees, Wounded Warriors, the disabled, and people who are chronically ill rely on Social Security for monthly benefits. The Social Security taxes you pay are helping millions of Americans — and financially securing your today and tomorrow.

By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from workers' paychecks. While usually referred to as "Social Security taxes" on an employee's pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as "FICA." This 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 official name for the Social Security Insurance program.

The taxes you pay now mean a lifetime of protection — for a comfortable retirement in your senior years or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivor's benefits based on your work as well.

Social Security is fully funded through 2033. At that point, we'll be able to fund retirement benefits at 79 percent unless changes are made to the law. Social Security has evolved to meet the needs of a changing population — and you can count on Social security in the future.

If you're a long way from retirement, you may 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 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.

Check out our 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 www.socialsecurity.gov/multimedia/webinars/social_security_101.html.

If you'd like to learn a little more about Social Security and exactly what you're earning for yourself by paying Social Security taxes, take a look at our online booklet, How You Earn Credits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10072.html. You can also learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Questions & Answers

Question: I'm expecting a baby this June. What do I need to do to get a Social Security number for my baby?

Answer: Apply for a number at the hospital when you apply for your baby's birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child's information with us, and we will mail the Social Security card to you. You can learn more about the Social Security number and card by reading our online publication on the subject, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

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