Courtesy: Social Security Administration
Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.
Your first job is a landmark occasion. You’re meeting new people, making professional connections and probably cashing that first paycheck. You might be a little surprised when you see a portion of your earnings go to a tax called FICA for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. This deduction goes to Social Security and is your way of helping us secure your today and tomorrow. It’s our job to keep the safety net of Social Security strong through your incremental contributions.
Understanding how important your contribution is takes some of the sting away because your taxes are helping millions of Americans. By law, employers must withhold Social Security taxes from workers’ paychecks. While referred to as “Social Security taxes” on an employee’s pay statement, sometimes the deduction is labeled as FICA. This stands for Federal Insurance Contributions Act, a reference to the original Social Security Act. Sometimes, you will see OASDI, which stands for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, the official name for the Social Security Insurance program.
The taxes you pay now mean a lifetime of protection — for retirement in old age or in the event of disability. And when you die, your family (or future family) may be able to receive survivors benefits based on your work.
You probably have family members — grandparents, for example — who already enjoy benefits that your Social Security taxes help provide. Social Security is completely solvent through 2033. At that point, retirement benefits will be reduced to 75 percent, unless changes are made to the law. In the past, Social Security has evolved to meet the needs of a changing population — and you can count on Social security in the future.
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