Social Security is the most significant public program for retirement security in the United States. Ninety percent of Americans who are 65 and older receive benefits from the program, which provides an average of nearly 40 percent of their income. Social Security provides at least 90 percent of income for one in four seniors.
Almost 90 percent of Social Security’s funding comes from payroll taxes on workers’ earnings. Employees and employers each pay a tax of 6.2 percent of an employee’s wages (Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax), while self-employed workers pay the entire 12.4 percent (Self-Employment Contributions Act tax).
When Social Security first started paying regular monthly benefits in 1940, males born in that year were expected to live 61.4 years and females 65.7 years. Today, those average numbers have increased to 76.7 and 81.4 respectively, an increase of about 15 years.