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

There's something about getting your name on a ballot and going around talking about social security or Medicare solvency or real issues of national security and national defense every day that makes things serious, and not just theoretical. Hilary Cadigan, Bon Appétit, "Lauren Underwood Is Doing Her 30s Better Than Just About Anyone We Know," 12 June 2019 The reason social security was protected under Reagan was, in part, because people were used to the benefits. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "Political Division? That’s Nothing New," 7 Mar. 2019 For example, if the name on your FAFSA doesn’t match the name on your social security card, it could be rejected. Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Seattle Times, "Financial aid season kicks off with 1st day for applications," 1 Oct. 2018 The wallet contained his Florida DL, social security card and an ATM card. Dan White, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Plantation, Sunrise area crime reports," 12 July 2018 Policy changes in 2001 and subsequent years restricted their eligibility for a number of social security benefits, including unemployment and disability support. New York Times, "Why New Zealand Is Furious About Australia’s Deportations Policy," 3 July 2018 Those projects have suffered as aid dried up from leftist ally Venezuela, however, and a social security reform proposal in April brought protesters to the streets. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "Briefing: Why violence has flared in Nicaragua," 7 June 2018 Known as the Wilton Paes de Almeida, the building had once been the Sao Paulo headquarters of the federal police and home to Brazil’s social security agency. Jill Langlois, latimes.com, "They squatted in a government building in Brazil for years. Then they lost everything," 4 June 2018 Norm Miller, University of San Diego YES: Countries with declining populations face enormous unsustainable burdens in terms of government pensions like social security without the transfer system now in place. Phillip Molnar, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Does the lowest U.S. birth rate in three decades pose a risk to the economy?," 1 June 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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Statistics for social security

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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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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