Where Do Your Social Security Tax Dollars Go

Social Security Reaches Almost Every Family

At some point the Social Security program will touch the lives of nearly all American Families in some capacity.

Social Security is known to help older Americans, but it also helps workers of all ages who become disabled and supports families in which a spouse or parent dies. According to SocialSecurity.gov, approximately 165 million people work and pay Social Security taxes, and nearly 58 million people withdraw monthly Social Security benefits.

With the large number people serviced by the Social Security Administration, many Americans do not understand how the program works. Here is how the current Social Security system works. When you work, you pay taxes into Social Security.

The tax money is then used to pay benefits to:

  • People who are currently retired;
  • People who are currently disabled;
  • Survivors and eligible family members of workers who have died; and
  • Dependents of beneficiaries

It is important to note that the money you pay in taxes, is not held in a personal account, contrary to popular belief. These funds are not set aside exclusively for you to use when you get benefits. The Social Security taxes being paid today are being used right now to pay people who are currently receiving benefits.

All unused funds goes directly into the Social Security trust funds, not a personal account with your name on it.

Social Security is More than Retirement

Many Americans believe that Social Security is only a retirement program. Although it’s true that most people receiving Social Security are receiving retirement benefits, but many others get Social Security benefits as well which may include:

  • Disabled
  • A spouse or child of someone who receives Social Security
  • A spouse or child of a worker who died.
  • A dependent parent of a worker who died.

Depending on your circumstance, you may be eligible for social security at any age. In fact, Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other government program.

Where Do Your Social Security Tax Dollars Go

When you work, 85 cents of every social security tax dollar, you pay, goes into a trust fund that pays monthly benefits to current retirees and their families and to surviving spouses and children of workers who have died. The other 15 cents goes to a trust fund that pays benefits to people with disabilities and their families. From these trust funds, social security also pays the costs associated with managing all social security programs.

And the taxes we pay for Medicare goes to a trust fund that pays for some of the costs of hospital and related care of all Medicare beneficiaries. The SSA goes on to share that Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, not Social Security.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is one of the most efficient agencies in the federal government, and works to make it better every day. According to the Social Security Administration’s website, each Social Security tax dollar we pay, it “spends less than one penny” to manage the program.