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Social Security covers every season of life

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By Paul D. Barnes
Social Security Regional Commissioner, Atlanta, Ga
The cool winds and changing leaves are telltale signs:
another autumn has arrived. Sometimes it’s hard to believe
how quickly the seasons change and the years pass by.
Whatever season of life you happen to be in, it may be a
good time to reflect on the protection you have through
Social Security.
Each stage of life — from the spring of youth to the summer
of middle age to the autumn of retirement — comes with
its own set of financial concerns. And in each situation,
Social Security is there to help.
Of the more than 53 million Americans receiving Social
Security benefits, nearly one-third are not retired workers or
their dependents. They’re disabled workers and their families,
or the survivors of a deceased worker. These non-retirement
Social Security benefits can be especially important to
young workers because about one-in-eight young people
will die before they retire, and about one-in-four will
become disabled.
While the death of a husband, wife, or parent is emotionally
devastating, it often can be financially devastating as
well. Social Security provides a monthly survivors benefit
payment to help the qualified family members of a deceased
worker.
Social Security disability protection is equally valuable.
Few workers have an employer-provided, long-term disability
policy. With Social Security, however, the average worker
has the equivalent of a disability insurance policy that
pays monthly benefits to workers and their families, based
on the workers’ lifetime earnings. So you can rest a little easier
knowing that Social Security provides some measure of
security, if life does not turn out as planned.
On the other hand, if you do work and retire as planned,
Social Security serves as the foundation for a secure retirement.
Social Security is the largest source of income for
most elderly Americans today, but Social Security was never
intended to be your only source of income when you retire.