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How is Social Security financed?

Social Security is financed through a dedicated payroll tax. Employers and employees each pay 6.2 percent of wages up to the taxable maximum of $142,800 (in 2021), while the self-employed pay 12.4 percent.

In 2020, $1.001 trillion (89.6 percent) of total Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance income came from payroll taxes. The remainder was provided by interest earnings $76 billion (6.8 percent) and revenue from taxation of OASDI benefits $41 billion (3.6 percent).

The payroll tax rates are set by law, and for OASI and DI, apply to earnings up to a certain amount. This amount, called the earnings base, rises as average wages increase.

Tax rates for employees and employers each under current law
2021 5.30 0.90 6.20
SOURCE: 2021 OASDI Trustees Report