Social Security 101
Once thought to provide enough income for a retirement lifestyle, today most people recognize that Social Security is just one part – but an important part – of an overall retirement savings package. It’s important to know how Social Security works, when you can begin receiving benefits, and factors to consider when deciding to apply for benefits. This section will walk you through the basics of Social Security and give you the information you need to make an informed decision about when and how to begin accessing this important benefit during your retirement.
Social Security Then and Now
Social Security was created in 1935 under President Roosevelt. It was originally created in the wake of the Great Depression to help provide a small retirement income for workers who had no employer-based pensions to prevent them from sliding into poverty. It has undergone numerous changes since its beginning; today it represents a “social insurance system” through which workers contribute a part of their earnings now to provide a measure of financial protection for themselves (and their dependents) later during retirement.
More than 51 million Americans receive Social Security benefits including retired workers, surviving spouses and dependents of deceased workers, and disabled workers and their dependents. The average monthly retirement benefit is nearly $1,100.