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  • Social Security Trust Fund

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    The Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund (collectively, the Social Security Trust Fund or Trust Funds) are trust funds that provide for payment of Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance; OASDI) benefits administered by the United States Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration collects payroll taxes and uses the money collected to pay Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance benefits by way of trust funds. When the program runs a surplus, the excess funds increase the value of the Trust Fund. At the end of 2014, the Trust Fund contained (or alternatively, was owed) $2.79 trillion, up $25 billion from 2013. The Trust Fund is required by law to be invested in non-marketable securities issued and guaranteed by the "full faith and credit" of the federal government. These securities earn a market rate of interest. Excess funds are used by the government for non-Social Security purposes, creating the obligations to the Social Security Administration and thus program recipients. However, Congress could cut these obligations by altering the law.

  • Federal Employees Retirement System

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    The Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) is the retirement system for employees within the United States civil service. FERS became effective January 1, 1987 to replace the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and to conform federal retirement plans in line with those in the private sector. FERS consists of three major components: The FERS annuity, a defined benefit plan, Mandatory participation in Social Security (most CSRS employees are not part of Social Security and do not pay taxes into the system, nor are they eligible for benefits unless they qualify under private sector employment or by being rehired and covered as CSRS (with a Social Security Offset), and The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), a defined contribution plan which operates like a 401(k)

  • Supplemental Security Income

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    Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a United States government means-tested welfare program that provides cash assistance and health care coverage (i.e., Medicaid) to people with low-income and limited assets who are either aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled (children included). Although administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is funded from the U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust fund. SSI was created in 1974 to replace federal-state adult assistance programs that served the same purpose, but was administered by the State agencies and received criticism for lacking consistent eligibility criteria throughout the United States. The restructuring of these programs was intended to standardize the eligibility requirements and level of benefits. The new federal program was incorporated into Title XVI (Title 16) of the Social Security Act. Today the program provides benefits to approximately eight million Americans.

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