Why young workers should care about Social Security
Bartels, Social Security district manager in
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[May 19, 2012]
-- Summer will be here before we know it. That
means millions of high school and college students will be searching
for jobs. Whether a new worker is beginning the career of a lifetime
or just earning some extra money for the school year to come, there
is one question that is likely to be on each new worker's mind when
they see their first pay stub: Where's the rest of my money?
Generally, employers are required to withhold Social Security and
Medicare tax from a worker's paycheck. The amounts you pay in Social
Security and Medicare taxes are matched by your employer. Usually
the money withheld is referred to on the employee's payroll
statement as "Social Security taxes." Sometimes the deduction is
labeled as "FICA taxes," which stands for taxes from the Federal
Insurance Contributions Act.
So here's how the money is being used and what's in it for you.
The taxes paid now translate to a lifetime of protection, when you
eventually retire or if you become disabled. In the event you die
young, your dependent children and spouse may be able to receive
survivor benefits based on your work. Today you probably have family
members -- grandparents, for example -- who already enjoy Social
Security benefits that your Social Security taxes help provide.
You may be a long way from retirement now, so you may find it hard
to appreciate the value of benefits that could be 40 or 50 years
away. But consider that your Social Security taxes could pay off
sooner than you think. Social Security provides valuable disability
benefits -- and studies show that a 20-year-old has about a 3 in 10
chance of becoming disabled sometime before reaching retirement age.
Another bit of helpful advice for young workers: Be wary if you're
offered a job "under the table" or "off the books." If you work for
any employer who pays you only in cash, understand that you're
likely not getting Social Security credit for the work you're doing.
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Want to learn more about Social Security and what it means to young
workers? If so, check out the webinar "Social Security 101: What's
For Me?" at
The webcast will fill you in on the details you should know to get
the most out of Social Security.
If you have questions about Social Security, the best place to go is
online -- to www.socialsecurity.gov.
[By JUDITH BARTELS,
Social Security district