What is Social Security?
Social Security helps millions of Americans make ends meet every month. Social Security helps retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired, disabled or deceased workers. President Franklin Roosevelt signed The Social Security Act into law in 1935 to help provide financial security to a broad range of Americans. The Social Security Act was part of FDR’s New Deal to lift the United States out of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The goal was to provide a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older an income after retirement.
The program expanded in 1939 to include survivors insurance for families of deceased workers and again in 1956 with disability insurance for disabled workers and their family
members. In 1965, Medicare began providing health insurance for Social Security beneficiaries. Since 1972, Social Security has administered the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. It is a needs-based program, funded by the U.S. Treasury general fund, not Social Security with holdings, to provide payments to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Children with disabilities can get SSI, too.
Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty program in our country’s history.
About one in every five Americans receives a Social Security benefit. Most SSA beneficiaries are retired individuals. Almost one third are disabled, dependents of those with disabilities, or survivors.Currently, over 63 million people receive a monthly Social Security benefit, including:
- Over 47 million retired workers and dependents
- Over 10 million disabled workers and dependents
- About 6 million survivors of deceased workers.
Currently, over 8 million people receive a monthly SSI benefit, including about 1.3 million children under the age of 18.
Social Security’s website includes 20 online services, information in 18 languages, and a presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Young adults age 18 and older can open a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/ to keep track of their earnings and get estimates of future benefits. They can also use their account to request a replacement Social Security card online in many states.
You can find local Social Security office locations at several online resources, including the ones mentioned below: