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social security

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 provides a worker with a source of income during retirement or if the worker is unable to work due to a disability. It can also support a worker’s legal dependents (spouse, children, or parents) with benefits in the event of the worker’s death.

The Social Security program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA keeps track of a worker’s earnings throughout their working life. When a worker retires, the amount of the worker’s monthly Social Security benefit depends on the worker’s earnings and the age at which the worker retires. Workers who retire earlier (beginning at age 62) typically receive lower benefit payments than they would if they postpone retirement.

In Texas, as in all states, Social Security is a federal program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is not governed by state law. It is funded through payroll taxes collected under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) from employees, employers, and self-employed individuals. These funds are used to provide retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. The amount of retirement benefits a worker receives upon retirement is based on their earnings record and the age at which they choose to retire. Early retirement can begin at age 62, but taking benefits at this age results in lower monthly payments compared to waiting until full retirement age. Disability benefits are available to workers who are unable to work due to a qualifying disability, and survivor benefits support the worker's dependents in the event of the worker's death. While the SSA administers the program at a federal level, Texas residents must apply and qualify for benefits according to the same federal rules and regulations that apply across the United States.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Texas Government Code, Section 607.002 - Benefits Not Subject to Legal Process
This statute is relevant because it protects Social Security benefits from garnishment, attachment, execution, or other legal process.

In Texas, Social Security benefits are not subject to garnishment, attachment, execution, or any other legal process, except as specifically allowed by federal law. This means that these benefits are generally protected from creditors and cannot be taken to pay off most types of debt.

Texas Family Code, Section 154.062(b) - Net Resources
This statute is relevant as it includes Social Security benefits in the calculation of net resources for the purpose of determining child support.

Under Texas law, when calculating child support, the court includes Social Security benefits, among other sources of income, as part of an individual's net resources. This affects how much a person may be required to pay in child support.

Texas Property Code, Section 42.0021 - Personal Property Exemption for Retirement Plans
This statute is relevant because it exempts retirement plan benefits, including Social Security, from seizure for the claims of creditors.

Social Security benefits are included in the list of exempt personal property under Texas law. This means that these benefits are protected from seizure by creditors, ensuring that individuals can rely on their Social Security benefits for retirement or disability without fear of losing them to debt collectors.

Texas Estates Code, Section 353.102 - Exempt Property
This statute is relevant as it addresses the treatment of Social Security benefits in the context of a decedent's estate.

In the event of a worker's death, Social Security benefits that the decedent was entitled to receive are exempt from creditors' claims against the estate. This protection ensures that the benefits can pass to the decedent's legal dependents without being used to pay the decedent's debts.

Federal Statutes & Rules

Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), 26 U.S.C. § 3101 et seq.
FICA is the federal law that mandates the collection of Social Security payroll taxes from employees and employers to fund the Social Security program.

FICA requires that a percentage of an employee's paycheck is withheld for Social Security taxes, and employers must contribute an equal amount. Self-employed individuals pay both the employee and employer portions of the tax. The funds collected under FICA are allocated to the Social Security Trust Funds, which finance the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) programs.

Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.
The Social Security Act established the Social Security program and outlines the eligibility requirements and benefit calculations for retirees, disabled workers, and survivors.

This act provides the framework for the Social Security Administration to administer benefits. It defines how benefits are calculated based on a worker's earnings history and age at retirement. The act also includes provisions for disability benefits and benefits for survivors of deceased workers. Amendments to the act have expanded its scope over time to include Medicare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Social Security Amendments of 1983, Pub. L. No. 98-21
These amendments made significant changes to Social Security to ensure its solvency, including gradual increases in the retirement age.

The 1983 amendments phased in a gradual increase in the full retirement age from 65 to 67, taxed Social Security benefits under certain conditions, and provided coverage to federal employees. The amendments aimed to address funding shortfalls and demographic changes affecting the Social Security system.

Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-170
This act was designed to encourage Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities to return to work without immediately losing their benefits.

The act provides beneficiaries with disabilities the opportunity to seek employment and still receive health care and other benefits. It established the Ticket to Work program, which offers beneficiaries vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other employment support services.