Book | Retirement

A young person’s guide to Social Security

A young person’s guide to Social Security  Download PDF
 Press release

Share this page:

Many young people don’t think Social Security will be there for them when they retire. Coupled with the doubt about Social Security’s longevity is a general apathy toward learning its basic functions and how it operates. Young people are uninformed and therefore misinformed. They do not understand how Social Security works, who it affects, and how it fits into their future plans.

Yet, Social Security is the nation’s most successful anti-poverty program and it remains a fundamental pillar of the American economy—one that is critical to the long-term economic security of today’s young people. The new edition of A Young Person’s Guide to Social Security, released by the Economic Policy Institute and the National Academy of Social Insurance, gives young adults the information they need to participate in debates about Social Security’s future. The 60-page guide is written by young authors for students and young workers and explains why Social Security is not in grave danger as oft-reported.

The new edition coincides with the seminar for Washington interns, “Demystifying Social Security,” sponsored by NASI, and reflects the latest official estimates for Social Security in the 2012 Social Security Trustees’ report.

Note on citations: This textbook does not have a bibliography. All citations can be found in the PDF document as URLs inlaid in the text that link to the article or webpage from which the number, fact, or figure was derived.

All program statistics and historical data are from the Social Security Administration Office of the Chief Actuary and the Office of the Chief Actuary’s “2010 Trustees Report.” The most-used source is Appendix A of the report, Table VI.A4.— Operations of the Combined OASI and DI Trust Funds. All data, unless otherwise noted, refer to 2009.

Other sources include the Congressional Budget Office, the Employee Benefits Research Institute, and the Center for Retirement Research.

Event video (July 20, 2011):

Engaging younger generations in Social Security debates (Part 1)

(Part 2)


See related work on Retirement

See more work by Kathryn Anne Edwards, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Anna Turner