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Social Security's 3 Forgotten Benefits

When most people think about Social Security, they focus on the benefits it gives to retirees. But Social Security provides a lot more than just retiree benefits, and the other programs it includes go a long way toward helping protect you and your family from financial hardships.

In the following video, Motley Fool investment-planning editor Lauren Kuczala talks with longtime Fool contributor and financial planner Dan Caplinger about the other benefits that Social Security offers. Dan discussed programs that help workers who suffer a disability that prevents them from working during their career, as well as supplemental income available to certain low-income individuals who are retired or disabled. Moreover, as Dan notes, the survivors' benefits program that often gives spouses of retirees valuable money can pay monthly checks to family members if someone dies before reaching retirement age. It makes sense to review your full benefits on your Social Security statement and understand what you're entitled to from Social Security.

In saving for retirement, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

Editor's note: The volume levels in some parts of this video are low. The Fool regrets any inconvenience.


Read/Post Comments (23) | Recommend This Article (31)

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  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 11:46 AM, EdHamox wrote:

    HISTORY LESSON .

    If there is anyone out there who doesn't know, this is an excellent

    visual.

    Now don't be mad at old people, just remember who did this...

    Franklin Delano. Roosevelt

    32nd. President, Democrat

    Terms of Office March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945

    Our Social Security A Democrat, introduced the Social Security

    (FICA) Program. He Promised:

    1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary,

    2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first

    $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program,

    3) That the money the participants elected to put Into the Program would

    be deductible from Their income for tax purposes each year,

    4.) That the money the participants put into the Independent 'Trust

    Fund' rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would Only

    be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other

    Government program, and

    5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as

    income.

    Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a

    Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting

    taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to 'Put Away' --

    you may be interested in the following:

    Dwight David Eisenhower

    34th. President, Republican,

    Term Of Office: January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961

    Insert by Vincent Peter Render,

    If I recall correctly, 1958 is the first year that Congress, not President

    Eisenhower, voted to remove funds from Social Security and put it into the

    General Fund for Congress to spend.

    If I recall correctly, it was a democratically controlled Congress.

    From what I understand, Congress logic at that time was that there was so

    much money in Social Security Fund that it would never run out / be used up

    for the purpose it was intended / set aside for.

    Lyndon Baines Johnson 36th.President, Democrat

    Term Of Office: November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969

    Question: Which Political Party took Social Security from the Independent

    'Trust Fund' and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend

    it?

    Answer: It was Lyndon B. Johnson

    and the democratically Controlled House and

    Senate.

    Question: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax Deduction for

    Social Security

    (FICA) withholding?

    Answer: The Democratic Party.

    William Jefferson Clinton

    (Bill Clinton)

    42nd. President

    Democrat Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

    Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.

    45th. Vice President

    Democrat Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

    Question: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security

    annuities?

    Answer: The Democratic Party, with Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (Al Gore)

    casting the 'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the Senate, while

    he was Vice President of the US ...

    THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK!!-----------

    James Earl Carter, Jr

    39th President, Democrat

    Term of Office: January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981

    Question: Which Political Party decided to start giving Annuity payments

    to immigrants?

    ANSWER: JIMMY CARTER, AND THE DEMOCRATIC

    PARTY.

    IMMIGRANTS MOVED INTO THIS COUNTRY, AND AT AGE 65, BEGAN TO RECEIVE SOCIAL

    SECURITY PAYMENTS: THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY GAVE THESE PAYMENTS TO THEM, EVEN

    THOUGH THEY NEVER PAID A DIME INTO IT!

    Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn

    around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security

    away!

    And the worst part about it, is uninformed citizens believe it!

    If enough people read this, maybe a seed of Awareness will be planted and maybe changes WILL evolve!

    Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so. But it's worth a try.

    Actions speak louder than bumper stickers.

    Thomas Jefferson

    3rd. President, Democrat

    Term of Office: January 20, 1777 to January 20, 1781

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want,

    is strong enough to take everything you have".

    Thomas Jefferson

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 11:52 AM, EdHamox wrote:

    In addition to the above post, Prez Obama took $716,000,000,000. (that's 716 Billion dollars) from Medicare to finance 'his legacy'.

    If you think health catre is expensive now, just wait until it's 'Free'.

    When you give people free stuff, they come to depend on it.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 12:09 PM, mrmagee1 wrote:

    Ed's "History Lesson" is laughably inaccurate, educate yourself to the actual facts:

    http://www.ssa.gov/history/InternetMyths2.html

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 12:18 PM, toni0623 wrote:

    Damn them

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 12:25 PM, waynetheprophet wrote:

    Thanks for sharing, but you left out that it is the Republicans that want to privatize it now by putting it in the hands of investors like Bernie Madoff.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 12:31 PM, noitzie wrote:

    Ed's 'history lesson' is worse than it seems. He closes with attributing to Jefferson a statement made by Gerald Ford. Of course, those opposed to Social Security have long engaged in systematic misrepresentations, but confusing the great Jefferson with the president best remembered for hitting his head on inanimate objects is pushing the limit.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 12:34 PM, mr091468 wrote:

    Time to secede. Let the illegals run the country and see how long lasts! HO HO HO

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 1:14 PM, Karrie123 wrote:

    Ed, your facts are so messed up, I don't know where to begin.

    The easiest is that social security contributions have NEVER been income tax deductible, and I go back 40 years in the work force.

    You also can't receive retirement benefits unless you've paid at least 10 years into the system. My ex tried that one, they said NO, and he's as American as apple pie. Maybe you mean SSI. That started in 1981, and is for the poor and disabled who aren't covered due to their work history.

    And it was in the 80's, Reagan's administration (which he signed), that started taxing part of social security income if your additional income puts you over a certain amount.

    The rest....look it up instead of spitting someone else's inaccurate talking points.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 1:29 PM, marieharris1 wrote:

    i cant understand how i worked 25 years and someone who has never worked gets more money than me in ssi beneifits, also, i see people that claim they dont speak a lick of english getting ssi checks, the American money speaks english all day everyday, how can get money and not speak english, or because a prisoner spends so many years in prison, they automatically get benefits upon release, now we are funding criminal behavior?

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 1:32 PM, 18RC wrote:

    What good is it to tell people about these benefits if no information is given about how to qualify for them, nor information about the incredible hurdles that must be overcome to collect (e.g. 2 year waiting period for disability payments to start coming in)?

    It's like saying: "You can get a mortgage at these banks" - then fail to tell the readers what it takes to meet the loan underwriting standards.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 1:45 PM, VegasSmitty367 wrote:

    The only way to fix SS and for that matter D.C. is for the American people to have an armed march on Washington and clear the place out. And its coming sooner then they think!

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 1:45 PM, ejauhunter wrote:

    This country is making me sick! I was born here and my family came through Ellis Island back in the early 20's to build a life and career... they did it the right way and helped this country and their community grow in many good ways and left a good legacy for their family of the future.

    I heard back in the 60's when I was a radio newsperson that the US had trillions of dollars in the retirement fund...so, when the bank vault is full and unlocked what's to keep the rotten thieves away... they can smell the money and then the greed takes over and hasn't' stopped and wont stop until we vote the thieves out. We all need to wise up as to what's going on behind our backs!

    I think about my Grandchildren and what we're doing to them as they grow up and try to fit in with a society that's basically living off the gov't and our hard earned monies...

    see you out at the stream beds with your gold pan. keep one in your emergency kit, it might help, you just never know...

    ejauhunter

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 1:52 PM, eafkid wrote:

    In 2010, my husband had a heart attack and passed away suddenly at 35, after 17 years of marriage. I went to social security and they told me that I was UNABLE to get his survivors benefits until I turned 50... I was like, "what??" I made sure he got up every morning for work, made sure he got to work on time, picked him up every day and I am not able to get his benefits.. I believe that survivors benefits should be granted REGARDLESS OF AGE OF THE SURVIVING SPOUSE, after XXXX amount of year marriage. He died from natural causes, there should be an exception to the survivors rules(we had no children because he was infertile, that was the only way I would be able to apply and receive benefits effective the date of death). I am struggling to eat, pay my bills, and working myself to the bone, but I am doing it. I could THE MONEY HE PAID INTO!! This would not be free money for me, this is money he worked every day, sometimes in 100+ degree weather for, there should be an exception...

    Highly disappointed in our government

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 2:24 PM, willby55 wrote:

    @Ed, there is some accuracy in what you wrote, but the truth is BOTH dem and republicans have had their hands in the SS pot, stealing our money. Reagan did it too. You obviously get your facts from fox so-called news, where it is NOT fair and balanced, or even the truth. Yes folks, google fox in Florida court. Fox went to court to be allowed to present the news any way they see fit. And the judge, who must be a fox news fan, agreed with them.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 2:47 PM, radarfour wrote:

    Thank's Dan for an excellent article which in spite of a few silly comments, is extremely accurate. The U.S. Social Security program is one of the most beneficial programs we have in our country. The absolute "fact" is because of the additional benefits you point out there is no way a program participant could possibly match their Social Security benefits in the "private sector" for any anywhere near the current program cost. Republicans who have been against this program from "day one" have tried to kill it for decades.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 2:47 PM, SyDVooh wrote:

    @willby55: Even lying is protected speech under the first amendment. If you can catch someone in a lie, you can sue, or even get criminal charges pressed. The problem here isn't just SS, it's that every government in history, that wasn't conquered by a stronger enemy, fell because of internal corruption. Learn from history. Invest accordingly.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 7:23 PM, serialjoepsycho wrote:

    Why wouldn't you forget about SSI? Because the social security administration gives it out? That's it. It comes from the US Treasury General fund not the social security trust fund. SSDI and RIB come from the social security trust fund.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 8:14 PM, karladl38 wrote:

    Sounds like Ed gets his "facts" from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 8:49 PM, jbutlerparalegal wrote:

    If you know anyone who is trying to obtain disability benefits for themselves or a family member, I highly recommend Berry and Associates. This law firm represents people all over the country. A disability is tough enough to deal with, without having to take on the Social Security Administration on your own.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 9:43 PM, larryv01 wrote:

    Ed Ham, your right-wing extremist manifesto is full of half-truths and mostly lies, blaming the problems of the Social Security on past Democratic Presidents and Democrats. There has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way Social Security payroll taxes are used by the Federal Goverment. The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted that year. From it's inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way, the Social Security Trust Fund has never been "Put into the general fund of the goverment." Most likely, this question comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in the Federal Budget Accounting. Starting in 1969, ( due to the action of the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions of the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the "unified budget". This means that every function of the Federal goverment is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Fund's are "on budget". This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Fund's were again taken "off budget". This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the Federal Budget. But whether the Trust Fund's are "on budget" or "off budget" as primarily a question of accounting practices it has no effect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself. No part eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security(FICA) withholding. There was never any provision of law making the Social Security taxes paid by employees deductibles for income tax purposes. In fact, the 1935 law forbid this idea. The taxation of Social Security began in1984 following the passage of a set of amendments in 1983, which were signed by President Reagan in April 1983. These amendments pass the Congress in 1983 on an over whelming bi-partisan vote. The basic rule put in place was that up to 50% of Social Security benefits could be added to taxable income exceeded certain thresholds. In 1993, legislation was enacted which had the effect of increasing the tax put in place under the 1983 law. It was raised from 50% to 85%, the portion of Social Security benefits subject to taxation, but the increased percentage only applied to "higher income", beneficiaries of modest incomes "might be" subject to the 50% rate, or no taxation at all, depending on their overall taxable income. Neither immigrants or anyone else is able to collect Social Security benefits without someone paying Social Security payroll taxes into the system. The question confuses the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program with SS, the SSI is a Federal Welfare Program and no contributions from immigrants or citizens or anyone else, is required for eligibility under certain conditions, immigrants can qualify for SSI benefits, the SSI program was an initiative of the Nixon Administration and was signed into law by President Nixon on October 12, 1972. It was Bush2 who took massive amounts of money from the Social Security Trust Fund and used it to fund his massive tax cuts of the rich and corporations. On April 25, 2005, he said "There is no Trust Fund, just IOU's that I saw firsthand that future generations will pay-will pay for either in higher taxes, or reduced benefits, or cuts to other critical goverment programs. Ed Ham, this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you need to go back to school or re-learn the history lessons of who was responsible for the near total collapse of the U.S. economy in 2008. Clue, Bush2 and the Republicans were in control.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2013, at 10:40 PM, oldgrammygrumpy wrote:

    /when I went to school I was taught that our form of government was of the people by the people and for the people. The government has no money to do any of these programs without all of us cooperating and paying into the funding taxes to make the 'equitable' distribution. Most people are like me -trying to raise a family without enough money to meet all the obligations and certainly to

    tired to take time to read all the long lawyer worded where as, and so forth confusion of words

    that our law inforcement has 15 interpretations to explain what Obama's health program really is!

    Ain't no such thing as free lunch-We the people pay whether we like it or not! But most of us can't access the funds when we are in need because some illegal claimed it first and we don't qualify!

  • Report this Comment On May 13, 2013, at 4:33 PM, Gloryboy52 wrote:

    The money for nothing for illegal immigrants who never paid one dime into the SSDI fund is heinous and should be criminal. someday we have to realize that we can no longer take care of the whole world. Military funding, social services funding, educational funding, science funding, economic funding,... and anything they can find to write a new spending bill for and it always seems to come out of the SSDI retirement fund. WHY? No one should have access to that money paid in by the working class! Someone must be pilfering off the money that is disappearing into all of these fundings. America has reached a point of no return and if something drastic doesn't happen soon then the doors of Hell itself will swing open! it is not that far away!

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2013, at 5:51 PM, gergames wrote:

    Ed...spare me? While I agree with much of your statement...what was this?

    "Thomas Jefferson

    3rd. President, Democrat

    Term of Office: January 20, 1777 to January 20, 1781

    "A government big enough to give you everything you want,

    is strong enough to take everything you have".

    Thomas Jefferson"

    Our Constitution wasn't drafted until 1787, & Washington was president from 1789 to 1797. Adams served from 1797 to 1801, & Jefferson from 1801 to 1809....not 1777 to 1781? We won the revolution in 1781, & the treaty wasn't signed until 1783. Better not to type facts if you have no clue of the facts.

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Dan Caplinger
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Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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