Some quick Mythbusters of our own today, courtesy of Jonnelle Marte:
1.) “Social Security is a terrible deal”
In fact, the truth is that the earliest people in the system got a good return on their payments into the system. Those working today pay more in Social Security taxes than previous generations but are going to get smaller benefits when it’s their turn to retire. Taxes are also set to increase with time so it’ll be even worse for future generations.
2.) “You’re not allowed to be unemployed and retired at the same time”
This simply isn’t true. It’s perfectly legal to take both at the same time – you just have to report the income to both agencies. Some states, like Louisiana, South Dakota, Utah and Colorado, reduce your unemployment benefits by up to half though, so it’s worth checking.
3.) “You get back what you put in”
Nope. Social Security is not at all similar to an individual account – the amount you put in isn’t set aside for you anywhere. Social Security is set up to benefit those on lower incomes the most.
4.) “I’ll probably be eligible for disability benefits”
Not necessarily. You must generally have worked at least three to ten years before you became disabled, depending on your age. The Social Security Administration does not pay benefits for partial or short-term disability and taxpayers must be able to show that they cannot do work they did before.