What Is Social Security

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Social Security is a simple concept. As you work, you pay taxes to the government. When you retire or become disabled, you receive monthly benefits based on your reported earnings. In the event of your unexpected death, your spouse and children will be cared for. You should work with the Social Security Administration and your financial advisor to determine how to integrate Social Security into your overall retirement plan.

What is the purpose of social security?

Social Security was originally intended only to supplement other sources of income in retirement.

However, Social Security is now a main source of income for many Americans. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), on average today’s retirees derive 33% of their income from Social Security benefits.1 The remaining sources include employment earnings (34%), pensions and annuities (20%), income from assets (9%) and other (4%).1

What is the Purpose of Social Security

Individuals receiving Social Security as their primary or sole source of income are usually living below, along or just above the national poverty level.

Income Sources

For a more comfortable retirement, individuals are encouraged to plan, save and invest with a financial advisor, so Social Security is only a supplement to their total retirement income.

Additional Resources

Brave Conversations on Personal Retirement

Insights, programs and tools


Financial Advisors

Call your local BNY Mellon Wholesaler for a copy of our client-use Social Security Resource Guide


Individual Investors

Call for a copy of our Social Security Resource Guide



This material has been distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular investment, strategy, investment manager or account arrangement. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Please consult your legal, tax or investment advisor in order to determine whether an investment product or service is appropriate for your particular situation. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. BNY Mellon Corporation and BNY Mellon Securities Corporation are companies of BNY Mellon.

1 “Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2017,” Social Security Administration

2 “Social Security Fact Sheet,”

3 “Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2014,” Social Security Administration.