social security

noun

Definition of social security 

1 : the principle or practice or a program of public provision (as through social insurance or assistance) for the economic security and social welfare of the individual and his or her family especially, capitalized both Ss : a U.S. government program established in 1935 to include old-age and survivors insurance, contributions to state unemployment insurance, and old-age assistance

2 : money paid out through a social security program began collecting social security

Examples of social security in a Sentence

She is living on social security. He began collecting Social Security checks.

Recent Examples on the Web

Nicaragua has been convulsed by unrest since April, when its leftist president proposed reducing pension benefits to cover a social security shortfall. NBC News, "Violence rings out at Nicaraguan church, university after nationwide strike," 14 July 2018 Demonstrations began on April 18, sparked by an unpopular change to the country’s social security system. Sarah Kinosian, Teen Vogue, "Nicaragua's Students Have Spent Months Protesting President Daniel Ortega," 4 June 2018 Pessimism increased in recent months as Temer’s flagship effort to overhaul the social security system went down to defeat, leaving the next administration to seek a politically viable route to plugging a fiscal gap. Aline Oyamada, Bloomberg.com, "Brazil's Bond Bonanza May Be Over," 7 Mar. 2018 Federal prosecutors say Tijuana resident Andres Avelino Anduaga, 66, somehow obtained a U.S. citizen’s birth certificate in 1980, and then used that identification to obtain a social security number and California driver’s license. Alex Riggins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Man who stole government benefits for 37 years is sentenced to 37 months in federal prison," 14 July 2018 Consumers shouldn't click on a foreign link or give out any personal information like credit card numbers, emails, or social security numbers. CBS News, "Trace Adkins says taking down impostors on social media like playing "whack-a-mole"," 12 July 2018 That's possible but unlikely given that Sony is still recovering from some embarrassing or damaging problems on the digital front—like the 2014 Sony Pictures hack that exposed thousands of employee social security numbers, emails, and more. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Sony tries to upload movie trailer to YouTube, posts entire movie instead," 3 July 2018 Sponsors have to send in personal information, including the last four digits of their social security number. Sarah Frier, Anchorage Daily News, "Facebook’s algorithm blocks ads for Bush’s beans, singers named Clinton," 3 July 2018 The officers spoke with Brewster, who attempted to give them two fake names, a fake date of birth and social security number before revealing her first name, Sabriah, which matched the information given to officers at the hospital by the victim. Aaron Randle, kansascity, "KC hairstylist charged with shooting her client five times," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'social security.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of social security

1908, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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The first known use of social security was in 1908

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More Definitions for social security

social security

noun

Financial Definition of social security

What It Is

Social security is a federal program that provides income and health insurance to retired persons, the disabled, the poor, and other groups. The program started in 1935 with the signing of the Social Security Act, which was an effort to provide a safety net for the millions of people who had suffered through the Great Depression.

How It Works

The primary programs offered through the U.S. Social Security Administration are:

Retirement benefits. The age at which a person qualifies for benefits depends on the year of birth, but generally a person can receive full benefits at around age 66. In many cases, beneficiaries can opt to begin receiving benefits at age 62, but at a reduced rate. The Social Security Administration generally increases the amount of benefits by 8% for every year that a beneficiary delays receiving benefits (up to age 70). In general, people need to work for at least 10 years in order to qualify for these benefits. Payments are based on earnings (thus, higher earnings mean higher benefits) and the age at which the beneficiary retires. Approximately 38.9 million people received an average monthly benefit of $1,229 in 2011. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office expects the Social Security program to become insolvent by the year 2033.

Disability benefits. People who have become disabled for at least five full months and may continue as long as the person’s medical condition has not improved and the person cannot work. Approximately 10.6 million people received an average monthly benefit under this program of $1,111 in 2011. People who receive disability benefits for 24 months are typically eligible for Medicare. Because applications increased dramatically during the Great Recession, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this fund will become insolvent by 2017.

Survivors benefits. This program provides monthly payments to children and widows or widowers of Social Security beneficiaries. In 2011, 6.3 million people received an average of $1,185 per month under this program. Typically, survivors receive 75% to 100% of the beneficiary’s basic Social Security benefit. The limit that can be paid to a family as a whole equals 150% to 180% of the deceased’s benefits, generally.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program provides monthly payments to people at least 65 years old who are blind or disabled and have few financial resources (typically no more than $2,000, but this excludes the person’s personal residence, life insurance, car, burial plots, and $1,500 in burial funds).

Medicare. Medicare is a national insurance program for people age 65 and older, as well as people who have disabilities, permanent kidney failure, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Medicare is not the same as Medicaid. Medicare covered approximately 49 million Americans in 2011, and the program accounts for approximately 15% -20% of all federal spending. The program made $551.3 billion in benefit payments in 2011. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) increases the benefits available to Medicare recipients, reduces reimbursement rates to health care providers, increases premiums for some beneficiaries, and raises payroll taxes (which fund the program). The Congressional Budget Office expects the portion of the program that pays for hospital expenses to be exhausted by 2020.

Why It Matters

Social Security and Medicare expenses constituted about 50% of the federal government’s outlays in 2011. The programs receive a substantial portion of their revenues through the collection of payroll taxes from workers and employers, and the business model has come under considerable scrutiny in recent decades because the baby boomer generation has entered retirement and begun applying for benefits that cannot be sustained with payroll taxes from the younger, smaller generations remaining in the workforce.

Source: Investing Answers

social security

noun

English Language Learners Definition of social security

: a program in which the government provides money to people who are unable to work because they are old, disabled, or unemployed

: a program in the U.S. that requires workers to make regular payments to a government fund which is used to make payments to people who are unable to work because they are old, disabled, or retired

: money that is paid out through a social security program

social security

noun

Legal Definition of social security 

1 : the principle or practice or a program of public provision (as through social insurance or assistance) for the economic security and social welfare of the individual and his or her family especially, often capitalized both Ss : a U.S. government program established in 1935 to include old-age and survivors insurance, contributions to state unemployment insurance, and old-age assistance

2 : money paid out through a social security program collects social security — see also Social Security Act, Social Security Administration

More from Merriam-Webster on social security

Spanish Central: Translation of social security

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about social security

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