A lock standing in front of a social security card to represent the advantages and disadvantages of social security.

Social Security: Advantages and Disadvantages

Social Security has been a source of heated political discourse for the past few years. While it provides numerous benefits to the elderly and infirm, it also places financial strain on the working population. As with most things in the world, Social Security has both wonderful advantages and serious disadvantages.

Advantages of Social Security

  • A large portion of the nation’s population is elderly or disabled and thus needs financial assistance. The Social Security program provides benefits to these individuals and their families.
  • Social Security makes it possible for many people to receive healthcare. Without monetary help many people, especially the elderly, would not be able to seek treatment for their ailments.
  • Social Security is insured by the government, meaning US citizens can still receive their benefits even if the economy goes South. This gives peace of mind to people who might otherwise have to consider working longer than they are physically capable just in case hard times hit.

Disadvantages of Social Security

  • The money that Social Security uses has to come from somewhere. Every US citizen working in a taxable job must pay a Social Security tax to fund the program. While Social Security benefits are available to anyone who qualifies later in life, not all people will need to receive Social Security. In this case, those individuals will pay money to Social Security for the majority of their career and never benefit from it.
  • The original designers of Social Security did not incorporate inflation into their calculations. This means that a Social Security payment does not go as far as it used to. So far, a "cost-of-living increase" has not been incorporated into Social Security payments, meaning there is no acknowledgment of the negative effect of inflation on elder care benefits.
  • The number of retired individuals now outweighs the number of individuals in the work force. The Social Security system was set up so that those who work could pay for those who could not. However, health advances have made it possible for us to live longer, healthier lives, and therefore the elderly population has grown in size. This makes it more difficult for the working population to support the retirees.
Last Updated: July 31, 2014