24 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2013 2:41 PM by smaneck

    increase contributions for increased benefits

    yanushkevich
      Too many people rely solely on Social Security for their retirement.  I think if we significantly increased Social Security contributions, then these people could retire on a decent retirement.  A sort of forced means of ensuring everybody has a decent retirement benefit.
        • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
          Sharon
          If all the Social Security we put into the plan received a steady interest rate, we all would have a nice retirement.  But the money also goes to disability and children and other areas.
          It may look like a "forced retirement" but isn't
            • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
              JerryD
              We were very surprised at the lack of "old people" when we visited  the Social Security office several times. Seems like it's time to get more of the "retirement" goal back in SS instead of cutting benefits to achieve these "welfare" goals that are easier to add on to the SS load and income stream instead of letting them get passed as separate laws on their own merits.
              • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                smaneck
                I think much of the Social Security Trust funds go into Treasury Bonds and since they were invested long before interest rates dropped they are getting nearly 4% on their investment. Not great, but not terrible either. 
                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                    Sharon
                    I think what Jerry D meant was that the huge crowds at the Social Security office who are filing papers to get Social Security were NOT senior citizens but "welfare" type citizens.
                    Of course, we brilliant senior citizens can use computers and apply online.  
                    But the Social Security offices are CROWDED WITH APPLICANTS and rarely is the applicant a senior citizen..social security is going for all other types of things and people.
                      • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                        smaneck
                        Younger people getting Social Security are of course disabled. I think it unfortunate to consider them 'welfare types.' If you know anyone who has ever had to apply for Social Security disability how difficult it is to get. My father was in a traffic accident where he suffered brain damage such that he was having epileptic seizures daily and he was denied first time around. The second time, the fair hearing was held in room that you could only get to by climbing a flight of stairs. Why would you do that for a hearing to determine if someone is disabled? As it turned out, he was so exhausted and confused, on the verge of another seizure that he very much acted brain damaged during the hearing and got Social Security. It was that Social Security that put me through college. Nowadays you can't get Social Security for dependents ends when you finish high school so fewer young people are on it. 
                          • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                            JerryD
                            Not against legitimate disabilities. Had a brother with 16 years of ailment that needed it. But is amazing how people can develop "disabilities" when finding a job is hard and they don't want to do whatever it takes to keep going. Much easier to convince yourself that you just can't do work any more and keep harassing programs that promise an on-going gravy train. 
                             
                            Another freebee is divorced spouses getting the other spouse's SS. Not picking on basically wives here but both the husband AND the wife should have to pay the price for getting into and then walking away from marraige. If he abused her then he should pay big time. If she walked then she should forfeit more. This is of course frequently complicated by the presence of 2nd or 3rd spouses that are also "entitled" to the wage earner's SS. How about if we say that the max pay out is one full amount for the wage earner and up to 1/2 for a spouse no matter how many spouses there are. The first spouse of 10 or more years would be entitled to the SS while living. Too bad for future spouses. Call it a SS prenup.
                              • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                smaneck
                                The thing is in order to qualify for Social Security Disability you have to be disabled for a long time, usually with no immediate source of income. You can't even apply until a doctor certifies that your disability is permanent and then it usually take about two years to get approved. No one without a real disability would wait that long. As for spousal benefits, that's a bit more complicated but a person can only collect on one account, so if they collect on their spouses Social Security (whether current or not) they are forgoing their own. 
                                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                    This has been well known for several years  that many of these disability cases are out and out fraud, with the concurrence and cooperation of the medical community. Just the other day, a TV news show here in STL did a story on the high percentages of SS disability in just certain neighborhoods. One woman said it was well known that you just had to apply twice; the first time, they'd automatically reject your application. Go for a 2nd time, they'd automatically give you the disability check you are trying to scam out of the taxpayers. I get it, people are having trouble finding jobs, and scamming SS disability looks like the only option. That's no excuse for the government to throw our money around so cavalierly, and it's no excuse for the government to be encouraging the scams.
                                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                    Sharon
                                    I'd always thought Social Security was a forced savings so each individual would have his/her own social security for old age.
                                    Then I grew up and realized it is much more than that. 

                                    I do not understand why a spouse would collect on another spouses' money when they didn't pay into Social Security.
                                    But then i grew up where both men and women work and help raise the kids and each contribute. 
                                    Sometimes the husband makes more money, sometimes the wife does.
                                    Never understood how anyone could get alimony when they were capable of getting a job.
                                    However children (orphans) should have some thing to fall back on when young.  And if one spouse stays home to raise the kids, those years should also go towards Social Security.  Once the kids are in school, then it is back to work.
                                    I know many men who stay home with the kids while their wives work. It is economics.  If the wife earns 4times what the husband earns, makes sense for him to be stay at home dad.
                                      • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                        yanushkevich
                                        you are right, even though I retired at age 55 and paid the max social security levy for only 31 years, then started collecting my social security benefit at age 62, had I invested both my employers' and my own contributions at 6.5%, I would still have about $50K left in spite of having already collected close to $250K.  You do the math Sharon!
                                         
                                        We do need to take care of the unfortunate, the widowed, orphans, and disabled, but paying more into social security, we could expect a greater benefit check.  If more and more people refuse to set money aside for their retirement, and expect the Govt. to help them with their medical bills b/c they make too little money, let those guys pay more into the system, so they can (hopefully) get more out of it.  This is true socialism, but like I said, the American Spirit of self help is virtually gone. 
                                          • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                            Sharon
                                            I think in straight logical terms and always thought Social Security was a government forced retirement. 
                                            All disability and welfare for orphans would come from another department of the federal government just as the cost of the military is.
                                            So you'd get out what you put in plus interest. Some years cd's made 15%, other years like now, you only get 2% (10 year cd.). Over time if you put in for over 40 years, you'd have a nice chunk of retirement.  The nice thing about Social Security is that you continue to get it all your life.  If you die at 65, ops, gone. But if you live to 105 you have had a nice run for your money.
                                            There are no easy answers.
                                            I'm very grateful for Social Security.
                                            Just wish there was no such thing as INFLATION so the money you make is the money you keep. Very hard to plan for the future when one time housing is 60 dollars a month and 40 years later, 2000 dollars a month for the same apartment!
                                            Thanks
                                              • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                yanushkevich
                                                Personally I never thought of social security as a retirement benefit, when I was starting a family, it was nice to know there would be additional income to my widow and offspring.  Then when my parents retired and collected social security, I felt between my brother and me, we were covering their retirement.

                                                So when it came to my own retirement, I took things very seriously and based it on Not receiving any social security benefits.

                                                When I was 62, I opted to receive my benefit, since I was entitled to it.  but I always treated it as a freebie, and used it to help my kids or pay tuition for my grandkids.

                                                So no, I don't feel sorry for the poor folks who rely on social security as a retirement, when they were young they drove new cars, whereas I always drove a jalopy that needed fixing (which forced me to do it myself to save money).  but I religiously kept up the maximum contribution I could make to Tiaa-Cref.
                                                 
                                                I had no idea that compounding and time cost averaging were such powerful tools in finance, but now I am coaching my kids to do as I did and secure their own future.
                                                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                    cyber888
                                                    Hogwash.  What a high-nosed comment.  I have already contributed $150,000 to Social Security and will continue to do so in my working years.  This is why many people consider it as a retirement benefit, because they pay into it.   And you say you are getting benefits from SS - why don't you just not give it up and give it to others  if you don't need it.  
                                                     
                                                    Of course, it's not meant to be a sole source of retirement and that's why the concept of 401K and 403b has been created.  And people should contribute to their private retirement savings.  However, I don't take social security lightly, because I have contributed hard-earned money into the system.  So please do not bash it, because even you are taking advantage of it.
                                                     
                                                     
                                                      • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                        I thought 401(k)s were created so companies wouldn't have to be responsible for making sure pension funds were fully funded and therefore could pay 100% of promised benefits (probably the same reason many companies supported the ACA).
                                                          • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                            smaneck
                                                            That simply isn't true. The two people I know who recently got disability only got it after the third hearing before a judge. And this was over a year after they applied. How many people would live on nothing for that long unless they really had no choice. 
                                                            The few cases I know in regards to disability fraud is not with the original diagnosis but where the person recovers enough to go back to work but finds something under the table so they don't have to report their income.
                                                             
                                                            I think you are confusing Social Security Disability with Workman's Comp where fraud is more common.  
                                                              • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                Obviously it doesn't happen everywhere. I didn't say that. But if it happens in St. Louis with enough frequency that the media notices, I'll bet it's happening elsewhere. St. Louis can't be the only place people are scamming SS disability.
                                                                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                    smaneck
                                                                    prost22 said...
                                                                    Obviously it doesn\'t happen everywhere. I didn\'t say that. But if it happens in St. Louis with enough frequency that the media notices, I\'ll bet it\'s happening elsewhere. St. Louis can\'t be the only place people are scamming SS disability.
                                                                    I doubt if it is anywhere near the frequency of Medicare fraud. But that is committed by doctors. It is when poor people commit fraud that we get upset. But I would be interested in seeing a link to what happened in St. Louis. Knowing from experience of close family members just how hard it is to get first time SS disability, I doubt if there is much fraud at that point. The fraud occurs later when the person recovers enough to obtain employment in the gray market but doesn't report that income. There are other cases where they get regular jobs, report their income and  it takes Social Security years to take them off. This happened to my father whose brain-damage healed to the point where he was no longer having daily seizures, was able to get his driver's license back eventually able to handle low-stress jobs for a about 30 hours a week, mostly at minimum wage. His earning were duly reported but they  continued to pay him Social Security. Some six years later they demanded their money back. 
                                                                    My family went through hell trying to get my father Social Security Disability but once on, government inertia kept him receiving benefits past the time when he really needed them. 
                                                                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                    JerryD
                                                                    smaneck said...
                                                                    ... The two people I know who recently got disability only got it after the third hearing before a judge. And this was over a year after they applied. How many people would live on nothing for that long unless they really had no choice. 
                                                                    ...
                                                                     
                                                                    I think you are confusing Social Security Disability with Workman\'s Comp where fraud is more common.  
                                                                    A few of us went a year without any income after unemployment died and still no job. Went to 2-3 job clubs, one weekly. I didn't get SS and I suspect that many of the young, way under retirement age people we saw in the SS office when we retired were scamming.
                                                                     
                                                                    We need to tighten very hard the rules for getting SS that are not retirement related before we start talking about cutting benefits. Also need to raise income taxed to levels originally set back in the 80's and allowed to inflate away because the levels are not inflation-adjusted. If you haven't seen it already, look at the latest front page editorial on using an elderly-index which raises SS benefits for old folks to reflect their actual costs as opposed to the politicians chained-CPI which lowers benefits.
                                                                      • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                        smaneck
                                                                        JerryD said...
                                                                         I didn\'t get SS and I suspect that many of the young, way under retirement age people we saw in the SS office when we retired were scamming.
                                                                         
                                                                        Your suspicions don't make it true. Not all disabilities are readily apparent to the eye. My ex-husband suffers from severe bi-polar depression which led to two suicide attempts and a lot of missed work. Prior to the recession, his employer put up with it, but as it got worse his employer forced him to resign allowing him to get short term disability. When he tried to apply for long-term disability, it was denied as well as were his attempts to get on Social Security, which went through two hearings with no succeess. So he ended up on unemployment, but no one would hire someone with his condition even if he could hold down a job. When his unemployment finally ran out, he checked into a hotel, took some pills and alcohol and placed a plastic bag over his head. When his sister called and told me he was missing but had left an envelop with $80 for his nephew, I called my son who went through the cell phone he had left at home and we were able to figure out from the numbers called which hotel he was likely at. We went to the hotel and when they wouldn't let us in, we called the police.  They carried him out on stretcher but he survived. A month later he had his third Social Security hearing before a judge and it was finally granted. 
                                                                          • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                            JerryD
                                                                            If you noted my post back a ways in this thread, you can see that I too had a relative that needed disability for an aliment that eventually killed him after 16 years of operations and suffering. So, I am not saying that there are NO people that should have disability, only that it seemed many in the SS office were questionable when we visited several times.
                                                                             
                                                                            People DO abuse government freebees if thy can figure out how to do so. I have read a number of times that people are coming out of the woodwork with "disabilities" that they were working with until it just got hard to find a job and that "disability" started to act up again.
                                                                             
                                                                            This is not going to get any better since so many people have not addressed retirement needs and employers WILL cut you these days, no matter how long you have been there or what you did for them in the past. It was my experience that there was almost no attempt for employers to guide long-term employees into new fields that they will need and to assist them in training themselves for new skills. I laugh (or is it cry) when I see so many people say that they will just work longer. Good luck with that! It's not your choice frequently unless you consider working at jobs at a small fraction of your previous pay and frequently unrelated to your lifetime of skills and your health cooperates. 
                                                                              • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                                smaneck
                                                                                JerryD said...

                                                                                People DO abuse government freebees if thy can figure out how to do so. I have read a number of times that people are coming out of the woodwork with \"disabilities\" that they were working with until it just got hard to find a job and that \"disability\" started to act up again.
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                I think it is more complicated than that. People with disabilities that were barely able to hold down a job were the first to be laid off during the recession.  And no employers were willing to hire them with their disability when so many able-body applicants were available. I don't think it is unreasonable for these people to receive disability. What we sometimes forget is that both Social Security and the original AFDC were developed during the Depression precisely in order to remove some people from the work force, so that those who were better able to work could find jobs. If I had been the president when this recession hit I would have temporarily allowed people to retire at 62 with full Medicare benefits. That would have created lots of jobs. When Obama care is fully implemented in 2014 I expect it will have the same effect because it makes health insurance affordable to early retirees. 
                                                                                  • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                                    JerryD
                                                                                    smaneck said...

                                                                                     If I had been the president when this recession hit I would have temporarily allowed people to retire at 62 with full Medicare benefits. That would have created lots of jobs.W... 
                                                                                    IMHO it's thinking and political, non fact-based moves like this why SS is hurting and partially why Medicare is costing so much. Ranks right up there with granting younger, working people never-before seen two years of 2% reduction in payroll tax at the expense of SS program or at least the Federal budget that picked up the loss AND also resulted in Washington politicians screaming that we need to cut SS.
                                                                                      • Re: increase contributions for increased benefits
                                                                                        smaneck
                                                                                        JerryD said...
                                                                                        smaneck said...

                                                                                         If I had been the president when this recession hit I would have temporarily allowed people to retire at 62 with full Medicare benefits. That would have created lots of jobs.W... 
                                                                                        IMHO it\'s thinking and political, non fact-based moves like this why SS is hurting and partially why Medicare is costing so much. Ranks right up there with granting younger, working people never-before seen two years of 2% reduction in payroll tax at the expense of SS program or at least the Federal budget that picked up the loss AND also resulted in Washington politicians screaming that we need to cut SS.
                                                                                        I don't think it would have cost Medicare that much because those people between 62-64 have better health than those over 65. And I'm not sure why you think saying that allowing people to retire at 62 would reduce unemployment is not based on facts. The real reason Medicare costs so much is because we have an unworkable medical system that needs to be fixed. Reducing the payroll taxes made sense at the time, although it could not continue. My understanding is that the funds came out of the Federal Budget, not SS. If we are going to oppose it for coming out of the Federal Budget then we should oppose all tax-reductions. I would have preferred paying for it by raising the cap on Social Security.