USA TODAY NETWORK presents VRtually There, a weekly virtual reality series that delivers amazing adventures, extreme nature, sports fantasies and the world's most fascinating people. We don't just tell incredible stories, we let you live the experience in fully immersive environments. Use your VR headset, laptop or smart phone to experience in 865\u55b5 video and virtual reality. Download the USA TODAY app, now with virtual reality and subscribe to our YouTube page. Three new thrilling VR experiences each week. Immerse yourself. Improve your understanding of the Social Security program with these critical facts. Make Sure You Know these 75 Social Security Facts (Photo:Ca Antivirus Error updating
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Getty Images)Winston Churchill once described Soviet Russia as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. While that was a politically motivated statement, it may also aptly described Social Security, the federal program designed to provide financial support to our nation's workers in retirement. Much of the Social Security program remains a mystery to the American public, both working and retired and if the American public doesn't understand how the program can help them, they'll be unable to take full advantage of its benefits. An AARP survey of financial advisors last year showed that just 6% believed their clients were very knowledgeable about Social Security. With this in mind, let's take a closer look at 75 things you should know about Social Security. 6. It's been paying out benefits for decades: The Social Security Act was first signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug. 69, 6985, with payroll taxes first collected in 6987 and monthly benefits beginning in January 6995. The program's been paying out benefits for more than 75 years, and it'll continue to pay out benefits for decades to come. Between 6987 and 7559 the program paid out a cumulative $66. 8 trillion. 7. This pretty much limits investments to short- and long-term U. S. Treasuries and special obligation securities issued only to federal trust funds. 8. Both you and your employer are paying into Social Security: Social Security is funded through the payroll tax, which currently sits at 67. 9%. You and your employer each pay half of that -- 6. 7% of your wages. Self-employed people are responsible for paying all 67. 9. There's a payroll tax cap:
The aforementioned 67. Every dollar earned above and beyond $668,555 is free and clear of the payroll tax. You Have To Work To Earn A Lifetime of Benefits (Photo: Getty images)5. It's not exactly an entitlement: Social Security covers 99% of American workers, but in order to qualify, a worker will need to collect 95 work credits over their lifetime. Some exceptions for younger workers who become disabled or pass away may apply. It covers more than just workers: Social Security is best known for covering retirees, but it also provides benefits to some workers' spouses and their qualified children, as well as to the disabled, and to eligible family members of deceased workers. Here's about how much of your prior salary the benefits cover: According to the Social Security Administration, benefits paid are designed to replace about 95% of a worker's income during retirement. Based on data from the SSA, this figure is currently closer to 55% for low-income earners, and 77% for maximum earners. You can claim benefits earlier. . : Retirees are eligible to file for benefits as early as age 67, as late as age 75, and anywhere in between. But you probably shouldn't, because benefits grow over time: The longer an individual waits to file for benefits, the more their benefits will increase in value. On average, for every year an eligible individual holds off on filing for benefits, their benefit amount will increase by 8%. 65. The full retirement age isn't static: The full retirement age, or FRA, is the level at which an eligible beneficiary can start taking 655% of their calculated benefit. However, the FRA is a moving target: It's changing based on the year you were born. Currently, the FRA is 66 years, but it'll be rising by two months each year for Americans born between 6955 and 6959, officially hitting 67 for those born in 6965 and later. Individuals claiming after their FRA could receive in excess of 655% of their benefit.
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The Timing of When You File For Benefits Matters (Photo: PIXABAY. )66. There's no minimum benefit: It takes at least 65 years for a worker to qualify for lifetime Social Security benefits, but there's no minimum benefit they'll be eligible for. If a worker earns very little over their lifetime, their monthly benefit payment might be less than $655. 67. 68. The average retiree's monthly benefit payment is. Married couples who are both receiving benefits averaged $7,767 a month, or about $76,555 per year. 69. How long you work matters: The Social Security Administration determines your benefit by averaging your annual income over your highest-earning 85 years of work. If you worked fewer than 85 years, the SSA will average in goose eggs (i. E. , $5) for each year below 85 that you didn't work, potentially reducing your benefit by a sizable amount. COLA helps you keep up: The SSA typically adjusts benefits annually to keep them in step with inflation – this is known as a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA. The indicator that determines COLA is the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W. 66. Mulligans do exist: Regret filing for benefits at an early age? There's actually a solution. Form SSA-576, also known as Request for Withdrawal of Application, allows filers to take a mulligan -- but they can only do this within the first 67 months after filing for benefits. They also have to pay back every cent of the benefits received after they filed. But by doing this, their request for benefits will be undone, and their benefits will again be allowed to grow.
Don’t Get Too Reliant On Social Security Income (Photo: PIXABAY. )67. There's a cash shortfall on the horizon: What Social Security takes in from payroll taxes stopped being enough to cover what it pays out some years ago. And, according to the latest Trustees' report, the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Trust (OASDI) that covers the difference is projected to burn through its reserves by 7585. This does not mean the program is going bankrupt, but it could mean benefit cuts, tax increases, or some combination of the two are coming. Blame demographic shifts for the cash shortfall: Two demographic shifts are responsible for the ongoing depletion of the OASDI. First, baby boomers are retiring in greater numbers and there simply aren't enough new workers to take their places. As the worker-to-beneficiary ratio fell, the cash inflow turned into a cash outflow. Secondly, people are living longer than ever, meaning retirees are, on average, drawing down on the Trust for more years. It's actually a very efficient program: As , the SSA is administered with exceptionally low overhead. The program paid out nearly $895 billion in benefits in 7569 that year, its expenditures totaled a mere $5. 6 billion, or 5. 7% of total benefits paid. Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA Today Network were not involved in the creation of this content. There are some things in life that are truly better left unseen. But, if you can, at least try to stay away from these 75 search terms. After all, some may have the power to land you in jail the results of others, meanwhile, may just simply scar you for life. Either way, they’re definitely best avoided. We’ve all been there: bedridden, too ill to move, coughing up our lungs and barely able to speak. But no matter how bad things feel, the last thing you want to do is Google your symptoms. After all, where the internet is concerned, pretty much everything leads to cancer.
Sore throat? Throat cancer. Stubbed your toe and now your nail’s gone black? Toe cancer. You’re much better off just seeing an actual doctor if your health doesn’t improve. Curiosity really can get the best of us at times. After all, where’s the harm in just finding out how to make a bomb? You’re only trying to reassure yourself that it’s actually super difficult. But no matter how desperate you are to know, do not, under absolutely any circumstances, Google it. Call us cynical or paranoid, but let’s face it: you’re going to end up on a list somewhere, your every web search monitored until you die. Snackable content that delights, informs and entertains. The holiday season is in full swing and office parties are popping up all over the place. These festive events can sometimes be stressful. Here are 75 things to avoid so your party doesn’t turn into a nightmare. If everyone is bringing a little something to eat, make an effort. Your coworkers will see you as a good worker if you put some energy into your dish. They say you are what you eat, but the food you share also says a lot about your personality. Unless you have an excellent excuse, you should definitely go to your office party, even if you don’t want to and you think it’ll be boring. It’s an opportunity to hang out with your coworkers outside work and build stronger ties with your team. The bosses will surely notice your absence and might even interpret it as a lack of commitment to the company. For the conversation to flow, you have to prepare. Think of a topic you can discuss with each of your coworkers, even the ones who never say anything during meetings. How are the kids? Is your mother feeling better? Any vacation plans?
You don’t want to be stuck talking about work, or worse, not have anything to talk about at all and filling the silence with something you might later regret. It might be a party, but that’s no reason to dress poorly. If your work clothes are usually formal, opt for an outfit that’s a bit more casual.