Social Security pays monthly benefits to retirees, disabled workers and families in which a spouse or parent has died. More than 163 million workers pay Social Security taxes, and more than 49 million receive benefits. Retirees account for the majority of the beneficiaries with Social Security benefits replacing about 40% of an average wage earner's preretirement income. Social Security also is known as Old Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance (OASDI).

Reference: Social Security: Understanding the Benefits, Social Security Administration, 2007

I. Paying into the system

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