Top Ten Myths of Social Security

26 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2008 Last revised: 25 Mar 2008

See all articles by Richard L. Kaplan

Richard L. Kaplan

University of Illinois College of Law


Few federal programs are as well known and as widely misunderstood as Social Security, despite its national prominence in matters both political and economic. As efforts to reform this creation of the Great Depression era are likely in the coming years, this article examines the principal myths surrounding this program to set the stage for evaluating possible revisions. The myths considered in this article include the following: (1) there is a trust fund, (2) Social Security does not increase the federal budget deficit; (3) retirees are only recovering their own money, (4) Social Security will not be there when one retires, (5) retirement benefits are proportional to one's lifetime earnings, (6) Social Security favors two-income married couples, (7) Social Security favors long-lived marriages, (8) one could do better investing directly, (9) working after retirement makes financial sense, and (10) retirement benefits are taxed more heavily than other pension payments.

Suggested Citation

Kaplan, Richard L., Top Ten Myths of Social Security. Elder Law Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1995, Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 07-21, U Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE08-002, Available at SSRN:

Richard L. Kaplan (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

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