Recently, Bloomberg View claimed that the Social Security trust funds do not exist, defying truth and a basic understanding of how the program functions.
There are two living, breathing trust funds for Social Security – the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) fund for retirees and widows, and the Disability Insurance (DI) fund for the disabled. These trust funds are made up of YOUR MONEY; you fund them through your payroll taxes.
How a trust works
A trust is a legal entity composed of different assets that aims to benefit a group. There are usually requirements for when someone can collect from a trust fund – i.e. a specific time or life event. The trust fund is managed by trustees. The trustees are ethically obligated to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries, who in this case, are all citizens who have paid into the system.
Applying this logic to the Social Security trust funds, we see that the assets that make up the OASI and DI trust funds are from your paychecks. There is 6.2 percent taken from each paycheck you earn that is split between the two trust funds. This money is available for you to collect when you retire and/or if you become disabled and cannot work. However, some politicians in our government have consistently tried to either limit or eliminate your ability to collect the benefits you paid for, if you become disabled. Never forget that Social Security is your money and it very much exists.
The government’s IOUs
The money we all give to the government to fund the Social Security trust funds can be thought of as an IOU, according to the Huffington Post. We lend the government money and intend for it to be repaid when we need it – when we retire or become disabled.
The focus on Social Security should be maintaining the funds, not trying to reduce them. The Social Security disability program, especially the funding of the program, is an extremely “hot button” issue in the upcoming elections. I implore those who want to protect the money they paid into Social Security to contact their State Representatives and urge them to support maintaining the disability program. I also want you to go out and vote during the primaries and November general election for candidates who understand the importance of a fiscally sound disability program.