Chapter 15

Ten Myths about Social Security

In This Chapter

arrow Dispelling wild tales about Social Security

arrow Keeping perspective about Social Security’s finances

arrow Basing your views on facts

Something about Social Security stirs the popular imagination. Rumors and phony stories have attached themselves to the program from the start. Sometimes you can identify the grain of truth that sprouts into a tall tale. Other times you can’t.

Before Social Security got off the ground in the 1930s, newspapers in the Hearst chain spread the story that people would have to wear dog tags stamped with their Social Security numbers. (The dog tag idea actually was proposed but never approved.) Many people continue to believe that Social Security maintains an individual account with their contributions in it. The reasoning is easy to see, but the story isn’t true.

Rumors swirl about the state of Social Security’s finances, hidden meaning in the numbers, and other topics that find fertile ground on the Internet and are spread through social media. Unfortunately, myths can be harmful, because they undermine public understanding of Social Security and confidence in the program at a time when the nation needs ...

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