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Social Security is a U.S. government program funded through payroll taxes on employees, employers, and self-employed individuals. The taxes are collected under authority of the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) and support Social Security programs, including Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance. Social Security helps not only older Americans, but also workers who become disabled and families in which a spouse or parent dies.
The Social Security Administration keeps track of your earnings throughout your working life. When you retire, the amount of your monthly Social Security benefit depends on your earnings and the age at which you retire. People who retire earlier typically receive lower benefit payments than they would if they postpone retirement.
The Social Security Administration has an online calculator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator that will provide immediate and personalized benefit estimates to help you plan for retirement. The Retirement Estimator is an interactive tool that allows the user to compare different retirement options.