Is Social Security a drain on American Tax Dollars?

Submitted by Chris on

In a political climate unlikely to throw it a 75th birthday party, the Social Security Administration has taken charge of its own festivities. Its website features a page dedicated to this anniversary year. Titled Social Security Celebrates 75 Years of Public Service, it features a history of the agency and stories from grateful recipients.

Social Security has been under attack as wasteful and too expensive, as a breeding ground for fraud, and as a prime contributor to the national debt. However, to those for whom Social Security has been a lifeline in a time of need, it is evidence of a nation’s commitment to serve and protect its most vulnerable citizens.

The Social Security Administration has posted some of its stories online. Here are a few of the voices raised in praise of this venerable institution:

[Survivors’ benefits] I'm 58 years old now, and have never doubted one penny of what I have paid into the system for Social Security since I was 14 years old. [When m]y dad was killed, my mother was 27 years old. She had five daughters from ages 1 to 8 years-old….Thank the almighty for Social Security and all the Americans who set up the system 75 years ago….we were able to get a roof over our heads and food because of the help we received…. we survived, even though Mom would iron or clean houses to supplement our needs….. I always wanted the opportunity to say "THANK YOU SOCIAL SECURITY."


[Disability benefits] I was born in 1960's with Christmas disease also known as hemophilia factor 9. My life has been a battle fighting bleeding into all my joints with swelling and constant pain. I have been receiving blood transfusions since birth on a regular basis. [D]uring the 80's I received a bad batch of blood…which was contaminated with the HIV virus. Thanks to Social Security I am able to receive Social Security disability since 1998. [W]ithout it I probably would not be here today… I am very grateful.


[Disability benefits] During my years of work with Social Security, some of the most rewarding and meaningful claims… would be the claims taken through the military bases….These are young soldiers who have recently come back from combat and can no longer cope with their everyday lives due to their war experiences or disabling conditions. The soldiers can no longer work…and spend most of their day at appointments with their doctors and taking medications….the SSA has done a tremendous job of stepping up and helping these soldiers and their families through these trying times. [T]he soldiers can't advocate for themselves so without the SSA they would be leaving the military without as much support.


[Disability benefits] I was disabled for a while…My husband and I were struggling to pay bills. I could not work because I was so sick. He checked online one day and said I should try andget disability… it has really helped us. We still struggle from time to time, but without my check it would be worse. I can now afford to get all my medicine; I take a lot and it is very expensive. I have been in ICU and it really helped knowing my check would be coming in. People who have never been sick can complain, but until you have been there you don't know what it is like to be without food or lights.


[Disability benefits] When the doctor's [sic] told me at the age of 33 I could no longer work, I was shocked. I [had] worked since I was 15. [My Dad] told me I could file for disability…[In] 2006 I had my final hearing. I received my reward [sic] letter and… I am so thankful for the money I receive each month; I would be homeless, if not for my ssi/di.


[SSI benefits] [The] Supplemental Security Income program has helped me financially in ways my disability does not allow me. For years, I have been a sufferer of a condition known as Hidradenitis Suppurativa. The condition greatly limits my mobility and takes a toll on my psychological well-being. With SSI, at least my bills get paid and there is food on the table. Since there is no known cure for HS, I don't know how long I will be privileged to be on the SSI program, but I do know that at present the program sure helps. Thank You Social Security.


[Retirement benefits] I filed for benefits at age 62 to have a guaranteed income to help with my expenses and…[n]ow it’s our main income….Social Security has allowed me to keep a roof over my head and food on the plate. I have been told that since I am a long time tax payer that it saved me from living on the street. I never knew that paying taxes could save you from a disaster. I just paid my taxes like advised. I never knew that in times of trouble it can really save you. Thank You!

Maybe the voices of the people Social Security has helped turn into productive citizens should be heard in this national debate. Perhaps the money the SSA has put back into the economy in the form of educated workers and those who have returned to the workforce through the ticket-to-work program, should be counted as a national asset on the balance sheet.

Add new comment

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!