Social Security: A windfall for the U.S. government?

By Paul Cross

Annuity National Brokerage Co.


The Social Security Administration employs 65,000 taxpayers. American workers are paying a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on earned annual income up to $113,700, and employers are matching the tax. The self-employed are paying the full 12.4 percent tax. Social Security recipients are paying more than $60 billion in federal income-tax on Social Security incomes. Social Security is the largest holder of the national debt.

The major holders of America’s national debt
    Social Security: $2.72 trillion and growing

    The Federal Employees Retirement Trust Fund: $1.12 trillion

    China: $1.16 trillion

    Japan: $1.13 trillion
77 million boomers

The boomer rush is underway, full steam ahead, with 10,000 staking their claim for Social Security every single day. And the number will grow before year's end.

In 2013, almost 58 million Americans will receive $821 billion in Social Security benefits, creating more tax revenue for the U.S. government.

A look back

Ida Mae Fuller was the first person to receive a Social Security check. On January 1, 1940, Ida Mae received the first Social Security check for a monthly amount of $24.22.

The first baby boomer enjoys Social Security income

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, the first baby boomer born just after midnight on January 1, 1946, was the first boomer to receive a Social Security check on January 1, 2008.

But so much for my commentary. Here are the facts from ssa.gov:

December 2012 Beneficiary Data
Number Receiving BenefitsSocial Security Benefits
Retired workers37 million$46.3 billion
Dependents2.9 million$ 1.8 billion
Disabled workers8.8 million$ 10 billion
Dependents2.1 million$ 0.69 billion
Survivors6.3 million$ 6.6 billion


Social Security is the major source of income for most elderly Americans
  • 9 out of 10 individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

  • Social Security benefits represent about 39 percent of the income of the elderly.

  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 53 percent of married couples and 74 percent of unmarried persons receive 50 percent or more of their income from Social Security.

  • Among elderly Social Security beneficiaries, 23 percent of married couples and about 46 percent of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.
Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits

Survivors of deceased workers account for about 11 percent of total benefits paid.
  • About 1 in 8 of today’s 20-year-olds will die before reaching age 67

  • About 96 percent of persons aged 20-49 who worked in covered employment in 2011 have survivor’s insurance protection for their young children and the surviving spouse caring for the children.
An estimated 161 million workers, 94 percent of all workers, are covered under Social Security
  • 51 percent of the workforce has no private pension coverage

  • 34 percent of the workforce has no savings set aside specifically for retirement
In 1940, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old was almost 14 years. Today, it is almost 20 years.

By 2033, there will be almost twice as many older Americans as today — 43.4 million today compared with 75.7 million

There are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. By 2033, there will be 2.1 workers for each beneficiary.

Here’s my summation:

For man, woman and child, Social Security is a proven godsend via FDR and has provided much needed income for so many since January 1, 1940. Social Security has also provided a substantial source of revenue for the U.S. government.

Social Security provides many avenues of income beyond the comprehension of 77 million baby boomers, many of which have pension plans that are in decline, forcing them into early retirement.

Social Security is income insurance. The more you know and the longer you live, the more you will receive.