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What Is Social Security?

“Social Security” is the catch-all term used to describe benefits paid out by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Aside from retirement benefits, the SSA makes payments to disabled individuals and eligible widows, widowers and dependents.

What is Social Security?

Social Security is a federal insurance program founded under President Roosevelt as part of the New Deal in 1935. The program has accumulated extra benefits over the years, such as survivors and disability insurance. Currently, Social Security makes payments to around 65 million retirees, disabled individuals, survivors and dependents.

Social Security programs are funded by taxes levied on workers and employees. The money goes into two Social Security trust funds:

  • The Disability Insurance Trust Fund
  • The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund
  • A board of six trustees oversees the financial operation of the two funds. A third fund, managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, pays out Medicare benefits.

Types of Social Security benefits

The SSA pays out four main types of benefits, each with its own eligibility criteria and payout levels.

Retirement benefits

When you think of Social Security, you probably think of retirement benefits.

Your retirement benefit is the monthly paycheck you receive when you retire. To qualify, you need to pay into Social Security for at least ten years. (11 to qualify for the special minimum benefit paid to long-term low-income earners.)

The amount you receive depends on:

  • Your income during your 35 highest-earning years
  • Your age when you start taking benefits While you can take early benefits at 62, you’ll get more by waiting until your “official” retirement age. (Currently 66-67 depending on your birth year.) You can also earn “extra” benefits for each year you wait to claim up until age 70.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

The SSDI program pays benefits to workers with qualifying physical or mental medical disabilities. To be eligible, you’ll need to meet conditions regarding how long and recently you’ve worked and paid into Social Security.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The SSI program is separate from other Social Security programs. These benefits help cover living expenses for elderly or disabled individuals with limited income and resources. In some cases, you may qualify for both SSI and Social Security benefits.

Survivor’s benefits

The SSA pays survivor’s benefits to the widows/widowers and dependents of eligible beneficiaries. The deceased must have worked long enough to be eligible for benefits. Typically, surviving spouses must be 50+ and disabled or over 60. Surviving spouses with disabled or minor dependents may also qualify.

Invest to supplement your Social Security

Many people rely on Social Security at some point in their lives – often in retirement. Unfortunately, Social Security retirement benefits only replace some 40% of your pre-retirement salary. That’s why it’s so important to invest for retirement on top of paying your taxes. And with Q.ai’s Investment Kits, securing your financial future has never been simpler.

Each Kit bundles several securities like stocks, bonds or ETFs focused in a specific theme. Invest in the future of clean tech; diversify with Global Trends; or profit from the guilt in your pleasures. Q.ai has Kits for almost every investor and situation, so you can finance your retirement your way.

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