Social Security

The big daddy of social welfare. The Fed rolled it out in 1935, and we’ve been living with and around it ever since. The program’s benefits include retirement income, disability income, Medicare, Medicaid, and death and survivorship benefits. Based on the year you are born, you can start getting retirement benefits as early as age sixty-two or as late as age sixty-seven. (That number is likely to get higher in the coming years, so you might not start collecting until age seventy or even older.) The amount of income you get from the government is based on the average wages earned over your lifetime. Spouses are also eligible to receive Social Security benefits, even if they have worked only part time or not at all. It’s been around for a long time, but factors like longer life expectancies, a large baby boomer population currently entering retirement age, and inflation have put it in serious danger in current times.

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