Why does Social Security take taxes out of my paycheck?

Attorney Wade Coye

Wade Coye, Disability Attorney

Basically, the structure of the Social Security system is like that of an insurance plan. When you are hired at a job, you fill out your W-4 so that taxes can be appropriately withheld from each paycheck. These taxes include Social Security and Medicare deductions and make you a part of the federal and state systems. Each week you work, you continue to pay into this system so that later if you need to make a claim against the system there are records showing that you have contributed to it.

Each individual’s benefit amount is determined by the number of months worked and the amount a person paid into the Social Security system during that time. If you are able to work until retirement age, you are generally entitled to Social Security retirement benefits, which can include Medicare and other governmental benefits. If you can’t work until retirement age due to an injury or illness, you may qualify for disability payments.

While the soundness of the system is hotly debated and many feel that the payouts and the contributions may not be equal for all individuals, the fact is that it functions similarly to an insurance plan for every citizen. With the intention of helping people during retirement, Social Security has helped to reduce the poverty level amongst the elderly population throughout the last century, and provides millions of Americans with a monthly benefit check in order to help provide for them in retirement. The Medicare system also aids seniors in helping to pay for medical expenses, prescriptions, and allows elderly citizens access to quality medical care anywhere in the country. In addition, the system has decreased the expenses that family members have to incur in taking care of elderly loved ones. Social Security taxes are an investment in your future, designed to be an insurance plan for your own care when you retire, and the taxes that are taken out of your paychecks now are part of a bigger system of care for the elderly to which all taxpayers contribute.

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