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Social Security - Get Into It!

Deciding when to collect Social Security can sometimes seem like a complicated process. Reasons for starting to collect Social Security early vary (the current earliest age to get most of the amount due you per month is 62). Deciding to collect at this age may depend on a number of factors, the most obvious being how much the money is needed now. The drawback to collecting early is that you do not receive as much per month as you would if you waited a few years to collect it (assuming it will still be there in a few years).

Social Security started in 1935 with passage of the act named for it. Today, it refers to the survivors, disability insurance, and old-age program. A sample of the programs it covers are:

--Federal retirement, disability insurance, and survivors benefits.

--Unemployment benefits.

--Medicare.

--Assistance to needy families (temporary).

--Kids health insurance programs through each state.

--Medicaid.

--SSI, or Supplemental Security Income.

Social Security is paid for through payroll taxes, which are called FICA. When a person is employed they will see these deductions on their paystubs. Therefore, people are entitled to Social Security because they've paid into it whenever they've been employed. If they are self-employed, they still need to pay into this fund.

When FDR created the program as part of his famous New Deal, Social Security also covered unemployment insurance. Now, this term is used only in the sense we've come to know it for -- security for retirement and disability, plus a few other reasons. You can apply online for Social Security benefits and this is the easiest and quickest way. After you complete the application, you usually just sit back and wait to get the first check (theoretically speaking as it's electronic). If the government has any questions, they'll contact you.

Social security is only paid electronically now. When you apply you simply give the government your bank account info for direct deposit. Make sure you are on the official site when you do this, and you'll also set up your account and get a password. Many people choose the early option because of economic difficulties from the past few years. Explore all of your options before starting an application.