24 Social Security Facts You Need to Know

Social Security 2My Comments: Recently, I have developed an “expertise” in Social Security matters. I wish I’d had this knowledge when I reached what is known in the system as Full Retirement Age or FRA.

For me, this was when I was 65 and 8 months old. I signed up and I’ve been getting checks every month since then. However, had I known a secret I know now, I would have filed what is known as ‘file and suspend’ and then had my wife sign up for a spousal benefit, even though at the time she was still years away from her FRA.

The outcome would have been for me to wait until I was 70 before cancelling the ‘file and suspend’, taking my age 70 benefit and having her stop her spousal benefit. It would have meant my checks today would be about 35% bigger than they are.

I now have the ability to prepare a personalized social security maximization report for anyone not yet retired, so you can determine when is the best time for you to apply for benefits and how. Call or email me to get your report.

By Joseph F. Stenken | December 10, 2013

The Social Security Act has established numerous programs which provide for the material needs of individuals and families, protect aged and disabled persons against the expenses of illnesses that could otherwise exhaust their savings, keep families together, and give children the opportunity to grow up in health and security.

Congress passed the Social Security Act in 1935 and the retirement benefits program went into effect on January 1, 1937. The law has been amended many times since its original enactment.

There have been many changes in Social Security and the United States since 1935. First, in 1935 the life expectancy was only age 60, while today it is 78. Therefore in 1935 most people would not have lived long enough to collect Social Security retirement benefits. While today, many retirees are concerned they will outlive their retirement savings.

In 1935 Social Security was designed to supplement a retiree’s retirement income. Today, Social Security provides about 40% of the average retiree’s income.

In 1935, the worker/retiree ratio was about 160:1. Today it is about 3:1. When the program began, Social Security paid out about $35 million in benefits annually. Today it pays out over $675 billion annually.

Finally, in 1935, the poverty rate for seniors exceeded 50%. Today the poverty rate for Seniors is less than 9.5%. Approximately 35% of Americans over the age of 65 rely almost entirely on Social Security payments alone.

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