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Some important points about Social Security retirement

While we usually focus on Social Security disability benefits on this blog, we know our readers are concerned as well about Social Security retirement benefits. A recent article in USA took a quick look at some of the important things potential retirees should know about the program, given that there is so much negative commentary on the program in political discussions.

First, it should be kept in mind that Social Security retirement doesn't amount to a great pension for most people. It was never designed to be a primary source of income, but rather a supplement. At present, the average payout is $1,262 per month, or an annual income of $15,144. Because of this, extra planning needs to happen to ensure you have sufficient income once you retire.

Second, it is sometimes suggested that the program could be made more solvent by applying a special process to give wealthier recipients smaller payouts than poorer recipients. This already takes place, though, to some extent, though the tax code.

Third, it is sometimes said that Social Security could run out of money because people are living longer now than they were when the program started. But life expectancy hasn't changed that drastically, and much of the increase is due to a decrease in infant mortality.

Fourth, it is sometimes said that it doesn't matter that much whether one takes retirement early or waits until later in order to collect high payments for a longer time. Theoretically, this may be true, but it should also be remembered that the purpose of Social Security is to ensure a stream of income into old age, and it is wise to plan so that Social Security can serve that purpose.

A final important point made in the article is that the Social Security retirement program, while it does have challenges ahead of it, is not in any immediate danger.

Those who have further questions about how Social Security retirement relates to Social Security disability should work closely with an experienced attorney who can answer their questions.

Source: USA Today, "Social Security: 5 things you need to know," John Waggonner, February 26, 2013

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