Social Security turns 78
Born under FDR and expanded by LBJ, the program may be shaky in its dotage, but it's still vital to millions of Americans.
Social Security was born during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration as a means of combating the Great Depression and nearly 50% unemployment. The first lump-sum payment of 17 cents was made to Ernest Ackerman in 1937. The first monthly Social Security check of $22.54 went to Ida May Fuller in January 1940.
This year, about 58 million Americans will receive $821 billion in Social Security benefits. The average monthly benefit for a retired worker in 2013 is $1,262. Nine out of 10 Americans age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. And among the unmarried, 46% rely on Social Security benefits for 90% or more of their income.
With baby boomers continuing to retire in greater numbers and the current economy sputtering along, there's nearly constant fretting about the state of the great social safety net. Still, Americans of all stripes tend not to like hearing about it being cut, especially after spending years paying into it.
Last spring, seemingly the only issue that united liberals and conservatives was the Obama administration's plan to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits. While Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry famously called Social Security a Ponzi scheme in 2011, earlier this year, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., was quoted in The Hill calling the Obama plan a "shocking attack on seniors."
Thirty years ago, with bipartisan backing, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation aimed at keeping Social Security solvent. "This bill demonstrates for all time our nation's ironclad commitment to Social Security," he said. "It assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half a century ago. It assures those who are still working that they, too, have a pact with the future."
But retirement benefits are just part of the Social Security package, especially after President Lyndon Johnson's War On Poverty added Medicare and Medicaid to the mix. Disabled workers and their dependents account for 19% of the total benefits paid, while survivors benefits account for 11%.
As the Social Security Administration points out, 25% of today's 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67, and the majority have no long-term disability insurance besides their Social Security coverage. About 12% of today's 20-year-olds will die before reaching age 67, and the dependent families of the deceased workers are often eligible for survivors benefits.
The system has become so vital that just before a House Budget Committee hearing last month, Elise Gould, the director of health policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, called Social Security the nation's most effective antipoverty program.
"Without Social Security," she said on the EPI's website, "an additional 8.3% of Americans, or over 25 million more people, would fall below the (Supplemental Poverty Measure) poverty threshold."
Social Security may look a bit creaky at 78, but for many Americans, it's still strong enough to help them through tough times and provide them with a little extra after a lifetime of work.
Certain groups also don't want you to know that the Social Security Trust Fund has nearly 3 Trillion Dollars. Certain Groups don't want you to know that Uncle Ben by lowering interest rates, has also lowered the Interest Return to the Social Security Trust Fund. Regardless, the Fund is hardly in any real Danger. With a few tweaks, it will provide for Seniors for many decades to come. The SuperRich don't like that. They rather you work until you Drop Dead.
About the only time I agreed with Bush 2 was when he said he wanted to permantly
fix SS.However, he didn`t have a plan,as usual.There`s lots of think tanks in D.C.,just
grab a couple and vote on it.
"76 years of our slow descent towards socialism"
"Disabled workers and their dependents account for 19% of the total benefits paid...;" So about $80 Billion goes to disabled workers. In my position (interacting with many of those that claim to be disabled), I'd conservatively estimate 50% are outright fraud (claiming conditions like depression or anxiety -impossible to disprove); all the while spending 3-6 months a year back in the 'old country.’ Thus, our cash strapped nation is giving away $40 odd Billion a year through SSDI.
I say we create several panels of independent doctors and investigators (that are monitored for kickbacks/connections to patients) and send them around the country to take a thorough second look at each and every disability claim, to include the patients activities. Paying these doctors and investigators tens of millions a year would save us tens of Billions.
Let Repub voting seniors show us how they can live without their SS/MC.
Repub voters have NO BUSINESS being on SS or unemployment or any form of welfare benefit.
Correction: That's about $160 Billion going to disabled workers, with $80 Billion lost to fraud...
This whole idea of automatically withholding money is ingeniously nefarious. People never really know how much they are paying to the gov because they never see the money to begin with. We could get some real reform in this country if we would end the practice of withholding, and make people pay out of pocket every time the gov holds its hand out.
I wish everyone would go into business for themselves at least once in their life, even if just for a year or two. Perspectives change when you're signing the front of a paycheck, instead of the back. They also change when you pay the full FICA amount yourself, instead of just half, and when you have to send in estimated tax payments every quarter.
FING CHECK! I DON'T NEED THE GOVT TAKING MY MONEY SPENDING IT THEN TELLING OH
YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO COLLECT! THAT IS FRAUD LIKE ALL DEMOCRAT PROGRAMS!
THIS IS LEFT WING BS! A SCAM! LIKE MEDICARE! GIVE ME MY MONEY AND I'LL TAKE CARE
OF MYSELF! I'LL SPEND MY MONEY ON WHATEVER HEALTHCARE I CHOOSE NOT THE GOVT!
I LOVE HOW THESE LEFT WING PROGRESSIVE MORONS TRY TO DEFEND THESE PROGRAMS!
WAIT TIL OBAMACARE WITH IT'S DEATH PANELS START DENYING TREATMENT TO THEM!
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Reports say the generous benefactor behind the huge gratuities is a former PayPal executive.
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