Social Security – Origin


Why was the Social Security program started?

The Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935 as a result of massive unemployment during the Great Depression–especially among older workers–combined with the fact that the life span of the average was increasing.

On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act was enacted … “To provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of federal old-age benefits…”

The Social Security Act was the United States’ first major federal government program to deal directly with the economic security of its older citizens. Previously, the states and private resources were responsible for economic security of older workers.

However, the Great Depression created such a large financial displacement that federal action became necessary to supply the required financial resources to cope with the growing need among the people.

The Social Security Act was an attempt by the U.S. government to meet some of the serious problems of economic insecurity arising from the Great Depression.


According to Government Resources:
On June 8, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in a message to the Congress, announced his intention to provide a program for Social Security. Subsequently, the President created by Executive Order the Committee on Economic Security, which was composed of five top cabinet-level officials. The committee was instructed to study the entire problem of economic insecurity and to make recommendations that would serve as the basis for legislative consideration by the Congress.

The CES assembled a small staff of experts borrowed from other federal agencies and immediately set to work. In November 1934 the CES sponsored the first-ever national town-hall forum on Social Security

As Social Security program has a long history attached to it, people look upon it as a promise that the US government has made to nation’s workers, their families, and retirees. While Social Security is often considered simply a retirement program, about one-third of its beneficiaries are not retirees. The Social Security contribution gives four kinds of protection: (1) retirement benefits, (2) survivors’ benefits, (3) disability benefits, and (4) Medicare hospital insurance benefits.

Presently, however, Social Security reform has been a major part of the US government’s agenda. According to some observations, Social Security is sound for today’s seniors and for those nearing retirement, but it needs to be fixed for younger workers.