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The Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits. To qualify for these benefits, most American workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; future benefits are based on the employee contributions.
Social Security is part of almost everyone’s life. Social Security protects more than 154 million workers and pays benefits to more than 44 million people. Monthly retirement benefits are paid to more than 30 million retired workers and their family members. More than 9 out of 10 Americans who are age 65 or older either get Social Security benefits or will be eligible to receive them when they or their spouses retire.
Survivors benefits, currently paid to 7 million Americans, are paid to a deceased worker’s family and can help with financial problems that follow a worker’s death. The value of these monthly benefits is equivalent to a $354,000 life insurance policy.
Social Security pays disability benefits to workers if they have a severe physical or mental condition that prevents them from working for at least 12 months or results in death.
The agency includes 10 regional offices, 8 processing centers, approximately 1300 field offices, and 37 Teleservice Centers.