Chapter One: The Structure of the Social Security System
What is Social Security? How does it work? When and why was it started? Who benefits from Social Security? Who pays into Social Security?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Social Security is “the principle or practice or a program of public provision (as through social insurance or assistance) for the economic security and social welfare of the individual and his or her family; or a U.S. government program established in 1935 to include old-age and survivors insurance, contributions to state unemployment insurance, and old-age assistance”.# Social Security was a plan enacted on ...view middle of the document...
This family enterprise would continue and the farm would be passed down from generation to generation, and because of this no child on the farm would have to worry about finding work, provided that the farm did well.
This sense of security began to change as the Industrial Revolution began. The Industrial Revolution created a society where “workers found themselves dependent on outside forces to provide their families with the necessities of life, forces over which they had little influence. Any misfortune that interrupted their current income could mean destitution and poverty.” (Social Security & You, Social Security Administration, SSA Publication 05-10040)# This left many people without jobs, and therefore without a source of income. People could not rely on family members, and had to become rather independent in their search for financial growth. If they did not do this people would be put in situations where jobs could not be obtained, money could not be made, and therefore their standard of living could not grow.
The Great Depression furthered the importance of this problem. The Demand induced recession “dramatized the fact that many American workers were almost universally dependent on factors beyond their individual control for their economic security.”# The people that felt the Great Depression the worst were the elderly. As I stated in the above paragraphs, before the Industrial Revolution people relied on farming as their sole source of money. Because of this many of the elderly people in the 1930’s were farmers and the recession caused agricultural prices to fall. The farmers suffered because there was a “surplus of grains and unprocessed foods that overflowed storage facilities. Meanwhile, millions of Americans were poorly fed and undernourished. And because the farmers could not sell their agricultural product to earn money, they could not buy clothing or other necessities.”#
The family members of these people had now backbone to fall on and could not rely on these people to provide them with some sort of economic stability. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The civilization of the past hundred years, with its startling industrial changes, has tended more and more to make life insecure. Young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they come to old age.” The public had to become independent from a family enterprise and they had to worry about making a living for themselves. In an attempt to ameliorate the public’s insecurity, on June 8, 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt, announced his intention to provide a program for Social Security.
On August 12, 1935, the Social Security Act was enacted … “To provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of federal old-age benefits and by enabling the several states to make more adequate provision…”# The new act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age65 or older a continuing income after retirement. Also one...