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Dealing With a Social Security Myth…The Claim that Too Many Get Unearned Benefits

You’ve probably heard the comment, or perhaps seen it on a social media site…Social Security would be in better shape if people who haven’t contributed would stop getting benefits (or some version of the same argument). As discussed in a post by retired SSA official Tom Margenau, this claim is usually voiced by critics unaware of how the program actually works or the social insurance intentions designed into the system. The argument is typically aimed at spouses and dependents drawing benefits via the work record of an eligible claimant, a situation clearly aligned with Social Security’s philosophy.

Margenau begins his post with this: There isn’t a single soul getting a Social Security check who hasn’t worked and paid into the system or who isn’t a spouse or child of someone who has worked and paid into the system.” He further explains the fallacy in this criticism in that many of the folks drawing spousal benefits have also worked and have built a record of tax contributions, but become eligible for additional benefits due to the program;s “dual entitlement” rules.

Read Margenau’s post here. If the facts presented in the post lead to any further questions, know that the AMAC Foundation offers a free-to-the public Social Security Advisory Service that can help clarify issues for you. Learn more about this service and how to access it here.

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