Happy Birthday To Social Security

On August 14, 1935, 77 years ago, the Social Security Act (H.R. 7260, Public Law No. 271, 74th Congress) became law.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation at approximately 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.

When signing the legislation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, in part, “Today a hope of many years’ standing is in large part fulfilled. … We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age. … This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete.  … If the Senate and the House of Representatives in this long and arduous session had done nothing more than pass this Bill, the session would be regarded as historic for all time.”

To show participants, this is a composite photo of FDR signing the Social Security Act of 1935.

Described in its preamble as “An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes. …,” The Social Security Act of 1935 included more than what we now think of as Social Security. The Act also included unemployment insurance, old-age assistance, aid to dependent children and grants to the states to provide various forms of medical care. What we think of as Social Security is Title II of the Act (Title II – Federal Old-Age Benefits).

Most of the above information is from the history section of the Social Security Administration website. More information connected to the 1935 legislation is there including draft legislation, House and Senate Committee Reports, and vote tallies. If that interests you, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/law.html.

Since 1935, Title II of the Social Security Act has evolved into the three Social Security programs of today, known as OASDI for Old Age (Retirement), Survivors and Disability Insurance. Whether in the planned retirement everyone hopes for, by death (survivors) or because of poor health (disability), all have a retirement theme in the sense of leaving the workforce.  

For the entire United States, 17.8 percent of the population received a monthly Social Security benefit as of December 2011. This includes everyone receiving a Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefit, whether based on their own work record or that of someone else such as a parent or spouse. For the same time, 16.9 percent of the Minnesota state population received Social Security. For North Dakota, it was 17.7 percent.  

Social Security benefits go to people of all ages, bringing a huge amount of money to our states. Learn how many and how much for your state and county at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/oasdi_sc/2011/index.html.  Note: money amounts are in thousands of dollars.

Happy Birthday to Social Security.