What is Social Security? Tax Contributions and Benefits

This lesson teaches students about the basics of Social Security and its role in their future financial planning. It provides a comprehensive overview of how Social Security works, including the impact of payroll tax contributions on future benefits. Students will discover the importance of incorporating Social Security into their retirement strategies and learn how early career planning can influence their financial stability in the future.

The lesson also addresses concerns regarding the sustainability of Social Security and underscores the importance of diversifying retirement savings through 401(k)s, IRAs, and investments in stocks and bonds. By understanding the mechanics of Social Security and its significance in the broader context of financial planning, students are better equipped to make informed decisions that secure their financial future.


Use this video lesson on the topic of Social Security. Learn basic tax and related concepts of

  • Social Security Basics
  • Retirement Planning
  • Payroll Taxes
  • Financial Planning
  • Income & Careers
  • Saving & Investing
  • Risk Management
  • Financial Decision Making
  • Earning Income
  • Using Credit


9-12th grades. High School. Adult Education.


30-45 Minutes. It may be necessary to adjust the lesson plan and allocate more or less time to certain topics, depending on the needs and interests of the students. More in-depth lesson plan below will be longer.


Hand out the worksheet below (see the GET LESSON button near the bottom of the page).

Show students the video and have and have them complete the worksheet.  Review the questions on the worksheet.  For a more in-depth lesson, complete the lesson plan below.

What is Social Security? Tax Contributions and Benefits

After watching the video, ask students to summarize the main points made in the video.


Lesson Plan: Understanding Social Security


To provide students with a comprehensive understanding of Social Security, including its purpose, how it is funded, and its impact on individuals’ financial planning for the future.

Materials Needed:

  • Video: “What is Social Security? Tax Contributions and Benefits”
  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Printed worksheets for activities

Lesson Duration:

60 minutes

Introduction (10 minutes):

  • Briefly explain the concept of Social Security.
  • Discuss the importance of understanding financial planning from an early age.

Video Viewing (20 minutes):

  • Watch the video “What is Social Security? Tax Contributions and Benefits”.
  • Pause at key moments to clarify and answer any immediate questions.

Discussion (15 minutes):

  • What is Social Security and why is it important?
  • How is Social Security funded?
  • How do contributions affect future benefits?
  • Why should young people be concerned about Social Security?
  • Discuss the sustainability of Social Security and the importance of diversified retirement planning.

Activity (10 minutes):

  • Students will break into small groups to discuss and list actions they can take now to prepare for their financial future.
  • Each group will share their list with the class.

Quiz (5 minutes):

  • Conduct a short quiz based on the video and the discussion to reinforce the concepts covered.
  • Questions will cover key points such as the definition of Social Security, funding mechanisms, and the impact of contributions on future benefits.

Closure (5 minutes):

  • Summarize the key points discussed in the lesson.
  • Emphasize the importance of early financial planning and understanding Social Security.


  • Students will research additional retirement saving options beyond Social Security and prepare a brief report on one option.


  • Participation in discussion and activities.
  • Performance on the quiz.
  • Quality of the homework assignment.

Lesson Resources

Get Lesson


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