I don't know her age or the amount of benefits received by the person who wrote the May 9 letter on Social Security.
However, if that person has collected benefits for three to five years, she has most likely recouped all she paid into the system. The Social Security tax is FICA; many people look at income tax withheld. Simply add up the FICA tax withheld from your wages, (add the employer's payments, too), then add up the benefits you've received. Compare the two; that's your return.
Be glad it wasn't a savings account; have you paid attention to the rates over the years?
The law provided for only workers to receive benefits. If a spouse and children also received benefits, go back and redo the computation above. Now that's an amazing return.
While it's true that not everyone gets out what they paid in, most people get a much higher return than they realize.
Privatization would work great if everyone were responsible. Welfare rolls and personal debt prove that's not the case.
Social Security was intended to partially replace earnings lost due to retirement. Death and disability benefits were added later. If the original law had been followed, the system would be fine. And a lot of people would not have received any benefits at all.
Roberta L. Jefferson