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History of Social Security in the United States

Posted on:1/22/2012
In the United States, the Social Security Act of 1935 marks the founding of the welfare state. An accomplishment of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the act was a response to the Great Depression yet was rooted in various social movements that had developed earlier in the century.


 

In the United States, the Social Security Act of 1935 marks the founding of the welfare state. An accomplishment of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the act was a response to the Great Depression yet was rooted in various social movements that had developed earlier in the century. When poverty and misery struck on a massive scale, the leaders of those movements were ready with ideas for national action. Besides old age insurance, the act provided for unemployment compensation, assistance payments to certain categories of needy.

 

In 1935, under the New Deal administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the federal government entered into partnerships with the states to provide welfare entitlements to aid the needy elderly, dependent children, and the blind. Recipients had to pass a means test. These state-run programs varied widely, depending on the local economy and attitudes toward providing welfare. In 1950, Congress added a new welfare category: aid to the permanently and totally disabled. In 1972, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) was created to replace the old state run programs. The federal government, which funded and administered the program, now guaranteed a minimum income to recipients, which the states could choose to supplement. The process of declaring someone disabled and thus eligible for welfare was transferred from the state welfare department to the state rehabilitation agency.

 

In 1956, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was adopted and a Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund created for people unable to engage in gainful activity because of a medically demonstrable impairment expected to last at least a year. It was expected to be an improvement over the state workmen's compensations programs, which, like welfare programs prior to 1972, differed greatly from state to state in the benefits provided. SSDI was financed by a tax on employers and employees.


  
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