The Social Security Act of 1935 introduced the social security system in the US. The system caters to the financial needs of the retired citizens, who have contributed to the social security trust fund for at least 10 years. It also provides benefits to the survivors, in event of the employees death. The other benefits offered cover disability and unemployment.
It is essential for the person to make the regular required contribution to the Social Security Trust Funds through the payroll taxes, to be eligible. By virtue of the provisions of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act or FICA, every workers income is subject to a tax payment of 12.4% on the first $94,200 earned during the year. Half of this amount or 6.2% is paid by the employer, while the other 6.2% is deducted from the salary of the employee. The amount is given to the government. Self-employed people are responsible for paying the full 12.4%. This amount is used fund the social security system.
The system has been designed to benefit those who make the necessary contributions for a period of ten years. There is a credit system incorporated in the scheme and you can earn a maximum of four credits per year. This means that irrespective of the higher limit of your actual earnings and consequently the quantum of your contribution to the fund, your earnings would entitle you to receive four credits.
The amount of the monthly social security check that you would receive after retirement would be calculated on the basis of your 35 highest income-generating years. You need to apply, to start receiving you social security benefits. The best time to do this would be a few months before your actual retirement date.
The social security program attempts to pay the retired citizens a pre-determined sum of money, to cover their basic needs. It works as a kind of insurance for the retired people, helping them to cope with financial difficulties, post-retirement.
It is a form of insurance that covers the surviving spouse and children, in case of the employees death. If the spouse is between 62 to 65 years, 70 to 99 percent of the benefits are payable. Dependent parents and unmarried children under 18 years are entitled to receive the benefits too.
Disability that prevents employment opportunity is also considered for benefits under the social security system. Physical and mental disabilities are also covered and the payment starts five months after proving the disability to the authorities.
Under the social security system, unemployment benefits are available to those whose unemployment is due to circumstances beyond their control. The program is designed to provide financial relief to the citizens of the U.S. at crucial times.