Nearly Half of Workers Would Skip Social Security Deductions

March 16, 2009 ( - The U.S. division of Sun Life Financial has released new data from the Sun Life Unretirement Index showing almost half of survey respondents (48%) would prefer to stop paying into the Social Security system even if it meant that they would not receive these benefits once eligible.

A Sun Life news release said workers in their 30s are most likely to favor not paying into the Social Security system, with 59% responding they would rather not pay the taxes and not receive benefits.

The survey also found:

  • 51% of workers age 40 to 49 prefer to not participate in the Social Security program,
  • 44% of workers age 50 to 59 prefer to not participate, and
  • 39% of workers 50 and older would rather not participate.

Even a significant amount of respondents who are nearing traditional retirement age would choose to stop paying Social Security taxes. One in three (33%) workers over the age of 60 said they would stop paying Social Security taxes even if it meant they would not receive any benefits.

According to the announcement, income level was not a strong factor impacting American workers’ attitudes toward Social Security. In fact, results were largely consistent across income levels:

  • Almost half (47%) of Americans with a household income of less than $25,000 would choose to opt out of the system, and 48% of those making between $25,000 and $50,000 a year would as well.
  • Slightly more than half (52%) of Americans making over $125,000 a year would choose to stop paying Social Security taxes and not get the benefit.

The research also shows men are far more likely than women to say they would rather not pay into Social Security or receive any Social Security payments:

  • 57% of men age 40 to 49 would opt out of Social Security, while 45% of women in that age group would choose to stay out of the system.
  • 62% of men age 30 to 39 would opt out, while just over half (56%) of women age 30 to 39 would.

“As American workers approach the traditional retirement age, they increasingly begin to see the value of some component of guaranteed income, whether or not they plan to keep working,” said Wes Thompson, President of Sun Life Financial U.S.

The most recent version of the Sun Life Unretirement Index was conducted between December 3 and 14, 2008. Telephone interviews were conducted by Interviewing Service of America.

More information is available at .