Politics / Press Releases

There’s a Deficit of Knowledge About Social Security, says AMAC

social security administration portal benefits application disability benefitsKnowing how the system works will help ensure you don’t leave benefits on the table

WASHINGTON, DC – There is a knowledge deficit among those who are approaching the age at which they become eligible for Social Security, says senior advocate Dan Weber.

“Social Security is not an entitlement, a government hand-out.  It is a savings account funded by the blood, sweat and tears of American workers and it behooves us all to gain an understanding of its ins and outs,” Weber said.

Weber, who is president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, says that the “devil is in the details”, and the details of Social Security can be complex.  He points out that more than three-and-a-half million people in the U.S. become eligible for benefits each year.  And, he says, although they will be relying on Social Security to help fund their lives as they grow older, a vast number of them find it difficult to navigate the system.

“That is why AMAC has put its resources to work for those who wish to know what they are owed and how to collect it.   Knowing how the system works will help you get the most out of Social Security and will help ensure that you don’t leave the benefits that you are owed on the table.”

There’s been much written about how to get the most out of the retirement fund we’ve been paying into all of our working lives, but much of the advice that is provided can be unclear, according to Weber.

“So, we did our own research and found that, in fact, too much of the guidance that is available is complex and unintelligible for too many people and that in other cases it was downright wrong.  That’s the reason that we decided to dedicate ourselves to simplifying the facts about Social Security and providing a source for real-time information.  We owe it to our over-50 membership and to all seniors as they approach retirement age.”

AMAC created new resources to educate seniors – including a dedicated website, www.socialsecurityreport.org, and a widely syndicated newspaper column.  “The column is written by an expert in the field who offers explanations and advice in plain and simple language that informs and cuts through the confusion.”

In addition, AMAC has embarked on a massive effort to work with our lawmakers on Capitol Hill to help shape the future of Social Security.  “We meet with the nation’s lawmakers on a frequent and regular basis to promote ways to improve Social Security and help to ensure its viability in the long term.”

He singled out the Social Security Guarantee plan his association has proposed that Weber said would ensure 75 years of solvency for the Social Security OASI Trust Fund.  The plan would include a fair and balanced setback for future recipients, guaranteed cost of living increases and a provision for a new personal Early Retirement Account (ERA).

The ERA that AMAC envisions would be similar to an IRA or a 401(k) plan.  But, in order to safeguard the funds against risky investments, half of their benefits that individuals choose to invest in ERA accounts would have to be used to purchase guaranteed interest products such as government bonds or annuity contracts.  Workers would be free to invest their balances in any other investment that meets certain suitability standards.

“For many elderly Americans, Social Security is what puts food on their tables.  It’s their principal source of income, meager as it might be, and they would face cruel hardships if they their monthly checks were cut.  What we need to ensure their future is a real and dedicated solution for fixing the system, not pie-in-the-sky theories.  And, we need it sooner than later.”

 

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at http://amac.us/join-amac.

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BajaRon
3 years ago

Social Security is the biggest, longest running Ponzi scheme the world has ever embarked upon. If you don’t believe me just look up the definition. But I suspect that most don’t care what it is as long as they get theirs.

As with all Ponzi schemes, the entire system is specifically designed to go bankrupt as no other outcome is possible. This Ponzi scheme has one thing going for it that no other has. A corrupt government which can print money as needed. That’s the only reason this fraud perpetrated onto the American citizen is still in existence.

It has already failed long ago. The only question now is when it will go away. The sooner the better for all of us.

Dave
3 years ago

Social security should be abolished and replaced by personal retirement savings account. Employers and employees would contribute to these accounts over the working life of a citizen. The full amount, the employee and employer FICA equivalent is put into the employee’s account.

The advantages that come from this kind of approach:
– No slush fund for political leverage (no more pushing granny off a cliff)
– No more demographic dependencies requiring that the young support the elderly. This is especially painful when demographics get our of whack like they are now with a high ratio of retirees to young workers.
– Astronomically better returns. Think about putting your lifetime’s FICA contributions into a broad-based indexed stock market fund…no comparison!
– Simplicity: no more dealing with disinterested government employees and waiting forever on the phone to talk to a social security employee. No multi-choices to make, some of which are not in your interest and the time it takes to figure all this out.

Scottar
3 years ago

We should get rid of all big government ‘entitlements’ and seek private alternatives instead. We should at least delegate that these programs be managed at the state level through block grants. It could be based on each states contribution to GDP.

Gerald Boyd
3 years ago

I was a teacher in public school. Upon retirement at age 66, I was told by Social Security Admin.that would not be able to receive my full benefit, since I also have Teacher Retirement. As turns out I get less than half of my regular Socil Security amount. Is there any remedy for this cut in my Social Security?

Kim
3 years ago

There appears to be a deficit of knowledge not only among those hoping to soon collect but also within Social Security as well! When I first inquired about my benefits a couple of years ago, I was surprised by the low estimate given at the local SS office. The agent was not familiar with the “spousal add-on” that I later learned I qualified for, which is an additional amount that I could collect based on my ex-husband’s earnings history, as long as certain conditions were met (divorced and not remarried, married for at least 10 years, reached the age of 62 before the end of 2016, I think, and both of us having reached at least 62 years of age.)
So, before you commit to the numbers given by SS, check it out thoroughly for yourself.
Also, although I knew I would be paying something for Medicare, I was somewhat disappointed to learn that I would be (am) shelling out about $250/month for the most suitable scenario—and there are many plans to consider. Because I am not yet collecting SS, I pay out of pocket for this coverage.
Good luck fellow seniors.

Tom Crawford
3 years ago

A fair examination of ss benefits warrants disclosure of spousal benefits, disability, and dependent survivor benefits. Spousal benefit allows up to half their partner’s benefit or their earned benefit, whichever is greater, and in the event of death, the larger benefit is paid for the survivor’s lifetime. Disability benefits are available to qualified individuals and their dependent family after 6 months demonstrability of inability to perform a job. Survivor benefits are available for a spouse with dependent children to age 18 or to orphaned children under age 18. The expense of these benefits result in a reduction of available “retirement” funding. Guaranteed ss benefits greatly limit earnings/interest yields and the monies grow slowly over lengthy periods of time. Stock investmest risks are a real hazard to those without moderate assets and/or incomes in addition to ss. Those with lower incomes are particularly negatively impacted. Solutions are going to require sacrificing benefits for some higher income levels, increasing both contribution percentages and considerably higher annual income caps before ss deductions are stopped, an increase in age eligibility……and, unfortunately more

Gary
3 years ago

I’m tired of hearing about the problems with Social Security. We the People have respectfully paid into the Social Security and Medicare programs all our lives, without choice! Time f0r the government to fix it and quite complaining. Yes this is the same government that screwed it all up to start with!
1. Replace all money “borrowed” or taken from both programs with interest and penalties.
2. Clean up the fraud and make those who take illegally repay with interest and penalties.
3. Always remember this is NOT government money. It’s the peoples money set aside for a specific purpose.

Kenneth Bush
3 years ago

Back in the 1970’s, governmental entities had the option to opt out of participating in Social Security. A few did, and then deposited what the employer and employee would have paid to Social Security into an investment fund. The employees of these governmental entities are receiving retirement benefits of $75,000 or greater, rather than the $15,000-$20,000 that the employees would have received from Social Security. While Social Security might be called a savings account, it is not a good one.

Victor
3 years ago

I am surprise you people ( like the politicians) at AMAC keep on saying S.S and Medicare are bankrupt . This is a lie. Congress bankrupt S.S. by stealing the sacred money of the retire people to use it to pay for Welfare and the sacred money we pay for Medicare to pay for Medicaid. What you should be asking congress to put back all the money they took from S.S. and Medicare and separate S.S. from Welfare and Medicare from Medicaid. You at AMAC should be asking all your members to sing a petition asking Congress to put back the money they took that was something done against the Law. And your lobbyist should be doing the same. Thank you.

Van Hamlin
3 years ago

Well Dan, you are wrong! Social Security and Medicare are work taxes. If you pay those work taxes long enough, you qualify for a work tax benefit, which is based off of a formula centered on how much you paid in. This “Benefit” is an entitlement. In other words not all entitlements are welfare. Back when I was getting ready to qualify for these programs, I contacted AMAC and their pundits for advice. I got little response, most of which was inaccurate. Dan, if you want to help the members of AMAC you will set up a help center staffed with experts tasked with unraveling each persons struggle with the system.

IN addition, AMAC needs to lobby for law changes that actually facilitate funding of this system. The law currently allows Congress to raid the kitty by converting FICA payment, referred to as Social Security Trust funds, to low paying long term government bonds. At maturity these bonds can be rolled over into new bonds. In this way, Congress avoids making payments back to the trust fund. There is enough cash laying around to fund the system until approximately 2034. FICA payments are capped at a current figure of approximately $127,200.00. As a result, High income earners do not pay all year. Stanford Economist John Taylor discusses common sense changes to the formulas used for entitlement payments in his book “First Principles.” The simplest way to keep the trust fund sufficiently funded would be to eliminate the cap on FICA payment and change the formulas to cap benefit payments. Of course, it might help if Congress would leave more money in the trust fund or just buy gold. If trust fund surpluses had been used to purchase gold rather than treasury bonds, we would not have the problems we have today.

Ivan Berry
3 years ago
Reply to  Van Hamlin

Good points, Van.

HAM
3 years ago
Reply to  Van Hamlin

I agree Van AMAC needs to hire people who know the SS system so they can correctly help senior citizens through the quagmire. You notice however they are eager to sell Medicare insurance supplements. They do after all claim to be the Conservative option to AARP.

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Van Hamlin

Good post Van Hamlin. Most people unfortunately don’t want to hear that FICA taxes are simply transfer of payments from current workers to current retirees, a pay-go system, with current workers earning credits towards their own eventual collecting of benefits based on a capped, progressive formula of years and annual dollar amounts paid into the system. Even in this article, Mr. Weber erroneously refers to SS as a “savings account”, which it is NOT. Yes, John Taylor has made many excellent recommendations on how to fix a number of our financial issues over the years. Unfortunately, most will never be enacted, because they would essentially destroy much of the progressive infrastructure that has been created over the last 100 years. That is also why he was quickly discarded as a choice for heading the Federal Reserve recently in favor of Powell. Taylor would have fundamentally changed the Federal Reserve, which of course would have been a very good thing.

Sadly, you’re kind of asking AMAC to do things they are NOT fundamentally interested in doing. They do run that periodic Ask Rusty set of articles, which is about as close as they are likely going to get to what you want. AMAC is in the business of selling insurance and insurance by-products (annuities). Nothing wrong with that per say, but they are NOT some altruistic organization, looking out only for the best interests of seniors, many seem to believe they are. They are a business. just like AARP, that gets paid to by various sponsors to “push the products” so to speak. The membership fees likely go to help fund the lobbying efforts AMAC carries out in Washington to push their so-called “senior solutions”. Many of which are incredibly progressive in nature and amount to little more than tinkering around the edges of the current progressive solutions already in place.

john koo
3 years ago

Thanks to LBJ he passed a law that diverted social security money into a general fund which politicians have been stealing for years.

Paw ANgel
3 years ago

um…. this article really was not very informative. I guess I was expecting something else like some advice on when to start drawing benefits.

HAM
3 years ago
Reply to  Paw ANgel

Definitely wait until your full retirement age. If you draw at 62 your benefi is reduced by about 20% for each year until you reach full retirement age. It will not increase when you do reach it. Your local SS office can tell you what your full age is if you don’t know. Hope this helps.

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  Paw ANgel

As HAM stated, definitely wait until full retirement age (“FRA”, as SS calls it), if you can. If you continue to work and start collecting payments BEFORE FRA, SS will penalize you and not send you all the payments for that year. You CAN collect at age 62, but if you wait, the amount increases by 7 or 8% every year you delay, until age 70, when you MUST start collecting.

Alan
3 years ago

Everything I have heard from politicians and even lobbyists to fix Social Security is completely wrong. What all organizations that lobby should be pushing is for the U.S. government to start paying back the piles of IOUs in the trust fund stolen since Lyndon Johnson. At what point in history was paying back these funds supposed to begin? There must be something in Johnson’s law to spend SS funds excessive SS funds for the federal budget. What does the law say? If there is not provision for payback, then it is true, it is a giant Ponzi scheme being run by the federal government. They are stealing money as it comes into the trust and not paying to share holders. And none of the IOUs are invested so there is no chance SS will really ever make money.

Creating a new program to try to fix the system will meet the same demise as SS itself. It starts out with good intentions, but soon becomes corrupted because corrupt people run the government.

So AMAC and other conservative lobbying groups should be pushing for the U.S. government to begin putting the funds they stole for excess spending back into the fund. Not cut benefits, and not introduce new investment scams.

Hold the U.S. government accountable for its actions. How do we do that AMAC?

Enid
3 years ago

Since 1937, when funds were first collected, through the late 1970s, funds were borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, and paid back. During these years, minor changes were made by increasing the payroll tax and the amount taxed. By the late 1970s, the fund was broke. Since then, the payroll tax was increased, and the trust fund now owes the government over 2 trillion dollars. This information comes from Historic Table 13.1 (which is a part of the annual budget) All of this will have to be borrowed in order to be paid back over the next seventeen years, after which the benefits will have to be cut on all those on Social Security (see the Annual Trustees’ Reports).

Unfortunately, Congress has made bad decisions on Social Security. Around 1960, Congress decided that the professions, including lawyers, accountants, etc., that worked for their professional companies, which did not pay payroll taxes, would start paying them. All those who had already retired and paid nothing in were entitled to minimum benefits. Those who started to pay would receive minimum benefits if they did not pay payroll taxes long enough to be entitled to full benefits.

If Social Security is to remain paying full benefits, it has to be changed, either by increasing taxes or delaying benefits. Protecting Social Security is not a viable solution.

It is sad that, over the years, instead of using the money borrowed from Social Security to pay down our national debt, Congress has spent it. This has caused Congress to spend much more than the income taxes and the other taxes that were collected in all but two years, 1969 and 2000 (see Historical Table 1.4 under column ‘Federal Funds’). Any other year that we had a surplus was because of borrowing from various Trust Funds. That’s why we now have such a huge budget mess.

Maria Rose
3 years ago

The biggest problem of the fund for Social Security and Medicare benefits is it is being used also to fund Medicaid which anyone can get if you produce on paper lack of resources but with everything going digital, those who are using the system fraudulently will eventually be eliminated off the system ( like those who claim disability but aren’t and make it extremely hard for those who are truly disabled to get benefits).
We also need to get lawmakers to to eliminate the cap on income that is taxed for this unless they find a way to decrease the 47% of population in welfare benefits. Stop blaming us seniors for having such a large growing group on Social Security as our size was known from our birth years.

Rick
3 years ago
Reply to  Maria Rose

What is fair about telling someone they’re paying into a system to get future benefits, but suddenly we’re going to increase your contributions but keep a cap on your future benefits? How would you feel if you were one of the ones this happened to? I’m not one, either, but this just isn’t right! This tax the rich philosophy is going to backfire when the rich get tired of it and leave the country. The problem is that too many people collect benefits who never paid enough or nothing into the system and over the years politicians have traded increased benefits for votes without regard for the future of the system.

Tony B.
3 years ago

My fervent belief is that anyone who plans for retirement and saves along the way is going to be punished by the system by cockroach politicians who will claim that our SS benefits are “needs based’ which means our 401K and saving will be held against us and we will be told we don’t “need the money” therefore our benefits will be cut or taxed to death. Either way the politicians are not fixing the issue they just like to scare us with it every election cycle.

Lincoln Sorensen
3 years ago

Until a couple years ago SS was never included in any discussions involving entitlements. The democrats began to include SS in those discussions whenever they talked about “saving” SS and all other entitlements. The discussion always leaned toward cutting benefits in some way. That was only to brainwash us into accepting their intention to include SS as an “entitlement”. It has only created the discussion about the definition of entitlement.
I resist the inclusion of SS in talks of revising entitlements. I could care less what the “definition” of entitlement is. Welfare and all other humane programs known as safety nets should be revised so irresponsibility is rewarded and all efforts to be self sustaining are penalized. SS should be sustained by repaying the money stolen from it and handled as an investment so as to be self sustaining.
Discussions to determine how to handle each require totally different approaches and should never be included in a single discussion of longevity or revision.

Rick
3 years ago

Not trying to be the grammar police here, but do you mean “irresponsibility isn’t rewarded” and “efforts…aren’t penalized”?

Bill
3 years ago

Don’t you mean “revised so irresponsibility is Penalized and all efforts to be self sustaining are Rewarded”?

Trap
3 years ago

In reading these comments the one thing that is think is missed is, we have NO choice but to pay into SS or MC. NONE. just seems to me we forget that any person working legally in the USA if forced to pay into them. IMO that seems to skip by without being said. just venting

God Bless America
Trap

Irvin+C
3 years ago

Is the Trump admin trying or planning to cut Medicare and or Social Security? Or is this left wing propaganda?

John Higgins
3 years ago
Reply to  Irvin+C

See Harvey B. Rich above

Dave
3 years ago
Reply to  Irvin+C

Trump does not have to cut medicare or social security. Both are poorly designed and will fail on their own accord. If any cutting occurs it will be to shaft recipients on one hand and to extend the life of these programs on the other.

Per-person medical and retirement accounts would solve so much of the problems we have today.

Irvin+C
3 years ago

I have a question. Is the Trump admin trying to cut Medicare or is that democrat propaganda?

John Higgins
3 years ago
Reply to  Irvin+C

No way will the Trump administration seek to cut Medicare. It is an old Democrat trick that they and AARP pull out every few years and it still works!
What Paul Ryan tried to do several years ago was to allow seniors to voluntarily opt out and receive a check to by Health Insurance similar to Medicare advantage (but not the same).
The Dems distorted his idea and with help from the media and a very effective ad (pushing Grammy off a cliff) it hurt the Republicans in the election.

PaulE
3 years ago
Reply to  Irvin+C

Stop listening to Democrat propaganda. They have been saying this same thing about every Republican President for the last 50 years. Same lies told over and over and again.

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