Social Security is a key component of financial security for millions of Americans. But there's one thing that most people don't realize about Social Security, and it has huge implications for their benefits in the future.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, examines how Social Security is not a legally recognized property right and therefore can be taken away with impunity. Dan notes that most people think of themselves as being entitled to benefits, having paid taxes throughout their careers. But a 1960 Supreme Court case found that a government law taking away Social Security for citizens deported on account of being Communists was constitutional, and that precedent has been cited in numerous cases since then. From a political standpoint, it's unlikely that a massive withdrawal of benefits would happen, but it's still a danger that you should consider in your financial planning.