5 Little Known and Unusual Facts about Social Security

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It can be a bit disheartening when you see all the deductions that are taken out of your paycheck. Items marked FICA, SS, or OADSI are all abbreviation for some type of social security deduction.

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Hard working Americans will pay out as much as 6.2% of their pay to the Social Security program and the self-employed are whacked with a 12.4% bill.

While most people know the basics about the Social Security program, here are some little-known facts about it that are a bit odd but very interesting.

Fact #1-Your Number Goes to the Grave with You

Your Social Security number is never recycled. It is a unique number given out to you and you alone, so when you die, that number dies with you.

To date, the government has handed out more than 453 million numbers. However, with more than 1 billion possible number combinations, it’s going to be a long while before the program is going to have to think about recycling those numbers or coming up with a new set.

Fact #2-The Mexican Economy and Social Security Benefits Have This in Common

Believe it or not, the amount of money that Social Security pays out every single year is very close to the size of the economy for the entire country of Mexico.

It’s true! In 2018, it’s estimated that Mexico’s economy will hit the $1 trillion mark. In 2017, Social Security paid out $955 billion in payments to Americans.

Wow. Who knew?

Fact #3-Who Was the First Social Security Recipient?

It was Ida May Fuller from Brattleboro, Vermont. Everyone knew her as Aunt Ida. She received the first social security check in the early 1940’s. The amount? A whopping $22.54. That would be about $352 in today’s money. Not a hefty amount by any measure, but better than nothing.

Fact #4-Uncle Sam is a Borrower

While you might see lots of internet rumors about how Uncle Sam “raids” or steals money from the Social Security program to pay its bills, this isn’t exactly true. Uncle Sam DOES borrow from a trust fund, however.

Laws state that any surplus in the Social Security fund must be invested in US Treasury bonds, which is used to pay government debts for other expenses.

Fact #5- The First Social Security Card

A 23-year-old named John D. Sweeney Jr. is recorded as having the first social security card. While the Social Security agency admits that they no longer have records telling them who had the very first number of 001-01-0001, they do have John Sweeney’s number of 055-09-0001. Sweeney received his card in 1936.

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Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown

I've spent the past 5+ years as a freelance writer covering personal finance and tech. Originally from Texas, but happily living in New York City. Making money is the easy part, keeping it is very difficult!

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