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The US Social Security System

February 8, 2014

Introduction
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act (SSA) into American law. This Act was the first of its kind and was very different to the way Americans had thought up to that point; always pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, supporting their families and themselves without reliance on the government. When this Act was signed into law, it guaranteed income for those who were unemployed or retired. The SSA was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, which were designed to help bring America out of the Great Depression and give them hope. It was meant to take away the worries of those who couldn’t find work and also to ensure that retirees did not live in poverty. This program, and many of the other New Deal programs, were never meant to be permanent programs. However, Social Security is still around, supporting mainly those who are retired and disabled, but having issues of its own that will soon need to be dealt with.

History
The Great Depression was not what shaped the Social Security Act but it was the reason behind its creation. The Act itself came from the Committee on Economic Security which was “a cabinet-level group appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt just one year” before the Act was created. (Martin & Weaver, 2005) The Act itself actually created numerous programs, which were the foundation programs for the government to assist in providing some security to those who were elderly or unemployed. Over the years, changes would occur so that dependents and survivors as well as the disabled were included. The original Act also gave some support from the federal government to programs the states were running, based on means testing. This assistance is today known as the Supplemental Security Income program,…...

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