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Social Security                

When did it start, where’s the money come from?

Poverty rates among seniors exceeded 50% during the Great Depression so Franklin D. Roosevelt started the “Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance” (OASDI) federal program in 1935. Now called “Social Security”, it pays out money to seniors and the disabled. 

The program is funded by FICA taxes paid by employees and employers. The tax rate for the last 25 years has been about 6.2% for employees and 6.2% for employers. Put simply, Social Security is a mandatory savings plan: You and your employer pay taxes while you’re working, then you get that money back later.

When can I collect Social Security?

Beginning at age 62 you may file for benefits and receive a monthly check from the Social Security Administration if you have accumulated enough “credits”. You should apply three months before you want your payments to start.

How much do I get?

The amount of your monthly benefit depends mostly on how much $ you earned while working and how old you are when you begin to take benefits. Monthly benefits significantly increase if you wait longer (up to age 70). For example: IF your benefit at 65 is $2000/month, it would be approximately $3000/month if you waited to start benefits at age 70.

Get an estimate of your SS benefits by going to

Read this to find out how benefits are calculated:

Note: the amount of your monthly check may change in the future. By 2019 Social Security may be using reserves to make payments (paying out more money than they take in from taxes). Before that happens, Congress may enact legislation to decrease benefits, increase age requirements, etc. This is why it’s important to VOTE in elections!

Three ways to apply for Social Security Benefits

  1. Go to to apply online. 
  2. Call the Social Security Administration: 1-800-772-1213  7am-7pm.
  3. Visit your local SSA office (make appointment first).                                                                              Find a SSA office:

There are different strategies for getting the most out of your SS benefits. Options include filing at 62 versus filing at “Normal Retirement Age” or later, “filing and suspending” benefits, filing for spousal benefits, and others.   When and how you file will depend on your personal (health, family, work & financial) situation. RAFA encourages retirees to carefully research Social Security before making decisions; you may want to visit a SSA office for a consultation (make appointment first).

Resources: or 1-800-772-1213  7am-7pm


Int'l address
PO Box 135
Newark, CA 94560-0135

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